Who we are

Ian Hardy

I am a 52-year-old man, married with 4 girls. I previously worked for 25 years as the head of art at schools around the north east. My life consisted of teaching, golfing, cycling and swimming. At the age of 45 I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer GBM grade 4, and was given 12-14 months to live.

After my first operation on April 8th 2011, I began chemo-therapy and radiation, adding up to a total of 8 month chemo-therapy and 8 week radiation therapy. After the long period of completing my radiation therapy things started looking up but then the cancer came back. Then came my second operation, things totally changed. I couldn’t speak or recognise simple things such as doors, windows and even my family. This is why I call my four daughters 1,2,3 and 4 (1 being the oldest and 4 being the youngest).

Two years on from all the speech therapy and struggles, I came along another hurdle. I was diagnosed with epilepsy, causing myself to have seizures and more medicine. I also lost my sight from half of my view downwards, not allowing me to see below me unless I physically move my head to look.

I haven’t let my illness stop me from living my life, I have ticked things off my bucket list and am living my life to the fullest.

As I can no longer work, for the last five years, my time has been dedicated to numerous charities, including Local community work and working with people affected by strokes.

The three tumours gives us a chance to send a sense of hope and positivity to others that may be affected themselves or someone who has someone close effected by brain tumours/brain cancer.

My motto: “Don’t count the days…make the days count”.

 

Graydon Downs

I’m 39 years old. In October 2012, I was finally diagnosed with a brain tumour.  Having spent several months visiting doctors to complain of nausea, dizziness and a lack of concentration.  At the time, I felt pleased to finally have a diagnosis.  How inappropriate these feelings were!

I was originally told the tumour was probably a GBM 2 and I would probably make a full recovery after a treatment.  I was flown back from the USA where I had been working.

Interpretation of a further scan indicated it was likely to be a GBM4.  I don’t recall I was aware of the significance at the time, as my family tried to protect me from the implications and I was perhaps incapable of comprehending.

The craniotomy was a success getting 95% of the tumour; subsequently had 6 weeks of chemo-radiation and 9 months of chemotherapy.  The mean prognosis for a GBM4 with treatment is only 12-18 months.

I am pleased to be still be alive, over 5 years on.  I can exercise; my written and oral communication skills are still strong and I am driving again.

However, my life has been significantly impacted.  Emotionally, I continue to be as positive as possible, but I’m simply not the same person I was.  I feel a sense of loss and anger “why me”, why does my family have to suffer this.  Financially I no longer work and can’t afford to maintain the same lifestyle.  The uncertainty of my situation makes any long-term planning nigh impossible.

Yet, I’ve found new meaning in my life, I’m much kinder, more empathetic and emotionally aware.  I volunteer regularly for a wide range of causes.  I’ve taken up a host of new hobbies, such as oil painting, playing the guitar and DIY.

My Motto:

“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.” Churchill

That and… “Live life like you’ve stolen it”

 

Dan Howard

Hi, I’m 25, I was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma when I was 19.  I had 5 brain operations and intense radiotherapy. Everything went wrong so quickly and I ended up with the tumour growing fast and I suffered a major infection. I lost most of the use of my right side.

I had a lot of anxiety walking or using my right side when I got home, I always felt like I was about to have a seizure.

I survived and have been stable for nearly 6 years.  I go to Physio for my right side and it is much better then it was.  I started my own personal training business, Howard Fitness, and have developed a loyal client base.  In addition, I coach young boxers and help other cancer patients get on with their lives.