Conversations for... Brain Tumour Awareness Month: Hannah's story


Conversations for... Brain Tumour Awareness Month: Hannah's story

Posted on 22 March 2023

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.

Hannah Fendall is Tax Manager for Morson. Her world was rocked last year when her mum was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour after falling ill on holiday. Hannah tells her story:

Watch her video here:

"In September 2022, I got a phone call. My dad was on holiday with my mom to say, I think she had a stroke and obviously that was upsetting enough. I went out there that night and he said, no, she's not had a stroke, which I thought was great news, but she's got these lesions on her brain.

He said they thought it might be a brain tumour, but it won't be that. So, I was out there for a week, and she seemed fine herself, got home and straight to hospital. We basically got this report which said, oh, we think she's got cancer, but they thought it was somewhere else. And again, I was thinking, oh, that's the worst-case scenario. She's got cancer in two different places.

So back in the UK she goes hospital, and they confirm it's a brain tumour. My thought process was, oh, it's not too bad, it's in one place you can take it out. Then we discovered a few seizures later and more hospital visits that it’s the worst kind you can get, and the average survival is 18 months.

At first my mom was in denial on what was it. She thought, oh, I could have been born with whatever's on my brain. It wasn't until I heard the doctor actually say ‘you've got a brain tumour’ and my heart broke because I could hear results that she just said, like, why me? Why has this happened to me? But since then, she's been really positive and she's been really trying to fight it, even though the circumstances are awful, it’s terminal cancer and the chances of surviving more than five years is 5%. But she’s tried loads of different things. She's had like alternative therapies she's spoken to spiritual people, all the things that she probably wouldn't have done ordinarily. Despite her fate being set in stone really.

Now, she stays in the house. She's not bedbound, but she's very tired easily. And she doesn't really want to socialise with people because although people are really kind, it's a difficult conversation. Every time you see someone, you know what you've been through and what you're going through. And I think since this all started, she's had six hospital stays, two of them for operations, but the others have been for seizures, and she physically can't speak and she can't remember things.

And it's obviously a very terrifying for her. So, she can't do too much. Although she's alive and doing well in terms of, she can still physically do things, she's not well. And that's changed so much in such a short time. She can't drive anymore. She can't work anymore, and she can't do the things that she loves anymore.

My dad is older than my mum, so in the natural world you would think that he would go first or he'd get he'd get ill first. And not that I would wish that either of my parents get ill, but you would think that it would be my mum looking after him. So, to have that role reversal, he's in his mid-seventies now and it’s really hard to see and comprehend in your mind.

And he's doing his best, but he's an old-fashioned man. My mum did everything in the house, did all the cooking, the cleaning and looked after him. So now it's complete role reversal and he's having to do those things. It's been interesting and we've had a few funny stories of him. Well, I say funny, nearly burn the house down making sausages and things like that! But he's doing his best and he has been very supportive.

In terms of brain tumour treatments, nothing has changed since I think 2006. And the life expectancy of those who get brain tumours hasn't increased in around 30 years.

It was recently debated in parliament about how underfunded this area is. And although it's not the jobs of charities to fund the research solely on their own, any penny, any pound or pennies we can raise will really help. Just to keep it on the agenda."

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. Read her story here
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