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Just 1% of the national research spend has been allocated to this devastating disease
The diagnosis of a brain tumour is devastating, however there is hope. We have been fortunate to meet some very brave people who have survived to tell the tale and who want to share their story to give hope to others.
In 2003 and aged 17 Jack Brydon discovered he had a brain tumour. Today he is fit and well and leading a normal life. He counts himself as one of the few lucky ones.
It happened totally out of the blue in 2003, when I was in the first year of 6th form at school and aged 17. One minute I was fine, having a great time on a cricket tour in Sri Lanka and then, without any warning, I was having an epileptic fit, arriving at one of the hotels we were staying in.
I just brushed the incident under the carpet unitl I was back in England,
putting it down to the humidity. But when I went to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital for a CT scan something showed up as a cause for concern. It was very difficult to take in and everything happened so quickly. I was referred to Professor Cruickshank at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham where I had a MRI scan which was to confirm that I had a brain tumour. Later, I discovered that my tumour was a Grade II Astrocytoma which could have been there for a few months. When I had the surgery a couple of months later, the tumour had grown bigger, but Professor Garth Cruickshank managed to remove most of it.
As soon as I could, after the operation, I was back at school preparing to take my A’levels the following summer. Nine months after my surgery I cycled from Lands End to John O’ Groats and raised £6,000 which was split between the Neurological departments at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.
I really haven’t had any problems since and the worst I had to put up with was not being able to drive for a few years. I am now as fit as a fiddle, working in London and still playing a high level of sport (including representing Shepherds Bush at cricket who play in the Middlesex Premier League) as I am very competitive. The illness hasn’t stopped me from doing anything, but it has brought everything into perspective.
I feel very lucky because of the nature and position of the tumour and because I had such a wonderful neurosurgeon in Professor Cruickshank. He has done fantastic things for some people and I was fortunate enough to be one of them.