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The Adam Stimpson Fund

Raising awareness and money for high-grade brain tumour research in loving memory of Adam. Adam was just 20 years when he died less than 6 months from diagnosis in May 2023.


funds raised so far

Adam’s story

Adam was an intelligent, happy, loyal, confident young man full of fun and laughter, who touched the lives of so many people. He loved time with his friends and enjoyed being active, playing rugby, climbing, hiking and skateboarding. He was also passionate about music; he was self-taught on the guitar and his friends all remember him for his wide taste in music and the endless hours spent together listening to his music playlists.

Adam headshot

University life and symptoms

Adam was brought up in Wedmore, Somerset and after completing his A-levels he moved to Swansea to study Aerospace Engineering. It was in the summer term of his first year at university when he first noticed a change to his vision. His left eye had reduced movement causing blurred vision and headaches. He visited the GP, who referred him to the opticians who then referred him to an ophthalmologist. It was hard to get an appointment, so he had a private appointment where he was diagnosed with Duane Syndrome and referred to the NHS waiting list for further consultation. At the time this was very upsetting news, however, unknowingly much worse news was to come 6 months later when he found out he had been misdiagnosed, and the changes to his eye were a common symptom of a brain tumour.

Throughout the summer of 2022 Adam enjoyed touring England and Wales, camping, hiking and rock climbing, but he also started felt nauseous and was often vomiting in the morning. At the time he did not connect his sickness with his eye condition, so he went the GP for advice. The GP said both nausea and vomiting were common symptoms, and could be a result of stress, diet or intolerance to certain food groups. The GP prescribed a course of anti-sickness medication and advised that Adam should try changing/monitoring his diet. The GP did not connect that his vomiting related to the change in Adam’s vision.

In September, Adam was excited to return to university for his second year, moving into a shared house with 9 friends. During the next few months Adam’s symptoms got worse, his nausea and vomiting continued, plus he started to have problems with his balance and trying to focus on studying a challenge. He also had lost quite a lot of weight and did not seem his old self. Adam was not a person to complain and as he was living away from home, his parents were unaware of the extent Adam’s symptoms had got worse.

In December 2022, Adam returned for his follow eye appointment, where it quickly became apparent to the eye specialist that the original diagnosis was wrong, and he was sent for an urgent CT scan. Adam was admitted to the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) that evening and transferred to Southmead Hospital for a MRI and brain biopsy the next day. Adam was told he had a very aggressive brain tumour and was diagnosed with a diffuse midline glioma, Grade 4 brain stem tumour which was inoperable. After spending 6 days in hospital Adam was discharged, returning home to his parent’s house to try to process his life-changing shocking news.

Adam’s courage

Adam was an amazingly courageous young man, who never asked ‘why me?’ he stayed positive and was adamant that he wanted to do as much as he could and spend as much time he could with family and his friends. He never gave up the hope of fighting the disease and he held on to the hope that he would return to university and continue living with his friends. Christmas was an incredibly difficult for Adam, his parents and his siblings Ben, Debra and Donna trying to come to terms with the news, however, Adam’s positive mental attitude was an inspiration to everyone.

After Christmas, it was hard for Adam knowing he could not return to university and that he had to start a course of Chemotherapy plus take steroids to help reduce inflammation of the tumour. It was a real challenge coping with the many symptoms caused by the tumour, but also and dealing with the side effects of the medications he was taking. Adam stayed optimistic and knew that he wanted to focus his energy on spending time with his friends and continuing to do the things he loved.

Finding joy

Adam playing guitar

Between January and April, Adam did as much as he could, including a family and friends’ holiday to Bude, Rugby at Twickenham and the Bristol Bears; and several trips to Swansea to catch up with his university friends. In March he travelled with his brother Ben and his parents to Belgium to go to Professor Brian Cox’s Horizon Tour and enjoyed an amazing surprise when he was able to go backstage to meet Brian – one of his heroes. Adam loved the stars, physics and technology.

Although Adam tried to stay busy doing the things he loved, the progression of the tumour was brutal, making every day a struggle. Adam’s condition continued to get worse, experiencing reduced mobility of his left arm, problems with balance, headaches, vomiting, plus he started to develop seizures. Adam had 2 emergency stays in hospital in the teen and young adult oncology ward at Bristol Royal Infirmary where he needed their help to stabilise his condition.

Adam with mum and Dad at table

Adams parents were lucky that they were able to care for Adam at home, before devastatingly after 5 short months since diagnosis Adam passed away in May 2023. All our lives have changed for ever, but it was an honour and pleasure to share so many beautiful memories with an amazing young man, who touched all our hearts, and we will forever miss.

Losing Adam

Losing Adam when he was so young and everything to look forward to in life is the worst thing any parent can imagine, and nothing will take away the pain and the gap in our lives. As with many families who have lost a child or young adult to this disease, it’s a massive shock to release how little awareness there is of brain tumour symptoms, not just with the general public but also across the healthcare professions. It is also devasting to read how many other young people are mis-diagnosed like Adam before later getting the life changing news of brain cancer. Adam’s family and friends are dedicated to help improve the awareness of Brain Tumour symptoms and raise vital funds to support research into High Grade Tumours.

Adam on skateboard

“ Adam was a confident young man who loved adventure taking every opportunity to be outside skating, climbing and walking. He was passionate about his music and loved playing the guitar”

Annette Stimpson