Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40; over 5,000 people lose their lives to a brain tumour each year and just 11% of adults survive for five years after diagnosis. Those are some of the eye-opening facts that people with brain tumours must live with daily.
Living with any form of cancer is extremely tough, but doing so during a global pandemic, and when the diagnosis is completely out of the blue is even more difficult. This is the new normal that our colleague Tess’ daughter Yvette has had since February 2020. As a company, we care a great deal for all of our people and always help where we can, therefore:
We would like to thank Yvette for giving us permission to share her story, with the hopes to raise awareness of brain tumours and the lack of funding they currently receive.
“In February 2020, I was informed my MRI scan showed that I had a tumour the size of a tennis ball in my brain and, not surprisingly, it needed to come out ASAP.
After two days recovering from my surgery at St George’s Hospital, I was sent home as I was recovering well, but COVID-19 was also sweeping the hospital and so it was safer for me to continue my recovery at home. After a week, I returned to the hospital to have my staples removed and was given the devasting news that the tumour was malignant. I was then referred to my local Oncology centre to undergo treatment for the remaining tumour. I had six and a half weeks of radiotherapy, which meant while everyone else was going through the first UK lockdown, I was leaving my house daily, Monday to Friday, for ten-minute radiotherapy sessions – the upside was little to no traffic on the roads!
Next, began my chemotherapy cycles – five days of chemo tablets followed by 23 days off. I have just completed my 12th and final cycle; however, the MRI scans and hospital appointments will continue.
The Brain Tumour Charity has been there for me throughout my treatment, acting as virtual support, as I walk this journey of dealing with Glenis (my brain tumour) every day. Over the past 18 months I have been in a support group with people suffering from the same disease. We have celebrated the few that made recoveries, but also cried about those who have stopped contributing, to only have the news that they will never be back.
We offered support for those that felt they could not go on and shared in every moment of joy like positive scan results and ‘craniversaries’, drawing on these to lift our own emotional states. We often look the same as we used too, we sound the same, but our brains are malfunctioning, our hormones act like it’s a riot and our emotions act like a drunk teenager. Life gets a little challenging every now and again, but we are happy for the life that we have.
Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age and symptoms do vary. Always question, be inquisitive and if not happy with an answer, push for more.”
Research offers the only real hope of dramatic improvements in the management and treatment of brain tumours. Over £500m is spent on cancer research in the UK every year, yet less than 3% is spent on brain tumours. This is something that Huw, Yvette’s partner, has been helping to improve on.
So far, he has raised over £7,000 in donations for the Brain Tumour charity through his participation in the Virtual London Marathon; completed on the 3rd of October in under 4 hours. Moreover, Huw is going to Berlin next year to run the marathon there, to support the charity that has been there for Yvette throughout her treatment.
If you would like to contribute to the fundraising efforts, please click here.