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In Hope Stories

Just 1% of the national research spend has been allocated to this devastating disease

Natalie Dickenson

In April 2022, Natalie Dickenson, from Warrington, found she was becoming sensitive to bright light. An MRI scan revealed she had a meningioma brain tumour. Natalie, mum to Tayah, 11, Alfie, 18, Ella, 21, and step-mum to Aaliyah, 16, and Rio, 18, had six weeks of radiotherapy which left her feeling very tired. She still suffers from severe double vision. She has facial palsy and is almost deaf in her left ear. Natalie is taking part in Wear A Hat Day to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.

Natalie tells her story…

In April 2022, my eyes just didn’t feel right. I had to close them when it was bright, and I started getting headaches.

I went to the optician but he said I was fine, but things got so bad that I went to accident and emergency at Warrington Hospital.

“After having a CT scan, they said they had detected something, and I would need to return on the Monday for an MRI scan.”

On the Monday morning, I had severe double vision so I went back to accident and emergency. I had an MRI scan; shortly after, I was told I had a meningioma brain tumour.

“I was in total shock but I was just trying to stay positive.”

I thought the medical team would remove the tumour and I’d be able to get on with my life, but they were unable to operate because it’s wrapped around the nerves of my left eye and the pituitary gland.

I had six weeks of radiotherapy at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool.

“I lost a little bit of hair and I still get really tired, but hopefully the treatment stops the tumour in its tracks.”

I still have severe double vision so I have to wear an eye patch. I get a lot of hurtful comments about it, such as how I look like a pirate, so I get very insecure about that. I now have facial palsy, and I’m almost deaf in my left ear, with constant tinnitus which drives me mad, but I’ve just got to get on with it and be positive.

I have an appointment with the ophthalmologist at Warrington Hospital in two weeks’ time so I hope there is something they can do about my eye.

I think about the effect my diagnosis has had on my family, particularly my children. My youngest, Tayah, doesn’t want to be away from me at all. It’s hard seeing how this has affected her and it makes me feel guilty.

I’m taking part in Wear A Hat Day for Brain Tumour Research on Friday 31 March. There is so little government funding for research into brain tumours. I want to see progress in how this devastating disease can be treated, so hopefully the money I raise can help save someone’s life and lead to a better future.

Natalie Dickenson
February 2023

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer... yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Brain Tumour Research is determined to change this.

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Together we will find a cure.