Morson Group is proud to be supporting Brain Tumour Research as one of our official 2023 charity partners.
Brain tumours can affect anyone at any age, and they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. However, historically only 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours.
Kirsty Hodgson is Head of Bids at Morson. During the coronavirus pandemic, the lives of her and her family were affected by a brain tumour. She shares her story with us, and talks about her motivation for wanting to support Brain Tumour Research this year.
Watch her story here:
“In August 2020, my younger brother was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 15. He'd been having symptoms from around March. However, we really struggled to get a diagnosis due to the type of symptoms that he had. At the time, we were in lockdown due to COVID, and he couldn't see a doctor face-to-face. At the time, we were being told to keep food diaries because they'd be sickness and headaches were being put down to gaming.
We weren't really getting any help. It took months and months of going back and forward to the doctors to really get anywhere with it. And finally in August, we went out for a meal and on the way home, my brother collapsed. The following day, he went back to the doctors to push for an answer, and they sent him to A&E to give him an urgent scan.
Him and my mum were pulled into a separate room and basically told the worst… that they'd found a brain tumour on his scan. He was then blue-lighted to the Children's Hospital for urgent treatment. As soon as he got there, they started to drain the flow rate that built up around his brain. And the consultant said that if that had been left for another 24 hours, he would have gone into a coma and his chances of survival would have been very slim.
And luckily, they were able to take some more scans, and bought themselves a little bit of time by draining the fluid. The following day, he would then have surgery to remove the tumour.
He really struggled through all of the symptoms. Being a teenager and being very dramatic, nobody really knew how serious it was at the time. Everybody kind of thought he was being a bit dramatic and exaggerating things. And then obviously when we found out how serious it was, we all felt very guilty! But he was so strong through the process, he was better than any of the family, any of the rest of us. He was really positive. He had surgery in the August and he was back to school in September and like nothing ever happened.
The day he had the surgery, we all went to the hospital. We couldn't go inside because of COVID, but we all sat in the gardens in the hospital. We couldn't do much, but it felt better just to be close and be there. And I think I must have bought about £100 worth of coffees that day just to keep everybody distracted, including myself!
Unfortunately, they couldn't remember the full tumour due to the location, so he does still have a small piece of it left behind, and he has scans every six months just to make sure that it hasn't grown any further. Every time before we have a scan, he gets a bit nervous, as we all do. I think that the scans every six months provide him that bit of reassurance that if anything is ever going to come back, we're going to know about it early and tackle it. We're not going to have no idea, just like we did when he was ill the first time.
Now, he's kind of just getting on and planning the rest of his life, which is really nice. He's currently at college, he's studying maths, physics and chemistry and wants to be an engineer and is just planning for the future, which is it's nice that he can do that.
Having Brain Tumour Research as a charity this year is really important to me for two reasons. Firstly, raising awareness. The symptoms of a brain tumour are so different for all different ages from babies, children, teenagers to adults. And it's really important to me that people know those symptoms. They're quite generic symptoms and it can be hard to diagnose.
For me, people knowing and understanding what they can be, they might be able to help with a diagnosis if you're not being referred. It's just that extra level of awareness. And the second reason is the research. Again, I've said about my brother one day his tumour could grow again. And it's important to me that if that does ever happen, that there is a cure to that.”