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The John “Louis” Armstrong Fund

Raising funds for The Brain Tumour Charity in memory of John


funds raised so far

John’s Story

Tall, strong and energetic, Louis was an exceptional man, truly one in a million. Once you met him, you never forgot him.

A barrister, a Rear Admiral, CEO of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Board Chairman of several companies, he excelled at everything to which he turned his hand. He lived and worked at a bewildering pace, and always with a social resilience which defied definition. He had a razor sharp, photographic memory and was able to remember personal details of every person he met, even if he met them for only a few moments. Never slow to compliment, always quick to disarm and make you feel at ease, Louis was the consummate host with a passion for fun and life. He was convivial, quick-witted, eloquent, charming and always unfailingly gracious.

Louis was 67 when, in May of 2013, he fell while playing tennis and lost consciousness. Having scarcely been ill a day in his life, he soon bounced back but not quite to the inexhaustible form for which he was so well known. After an MRI scan in late July 2013 revealed a golf ball sized tumour in his left parietal temple, he was diagnosed with an aggressive grade IV Glioblastoma brain tumour. For a man known for his outstanding mental acuity, the diagnosis of brain cancer was doubly devastating.

Surrounded by his wife Mimi, children Mark and Mandy and elder sister Marie Louise, Louis underwent a craniotomy by the excellent Neil Kitchen at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London in August 2013. 95% of the golf ball sized tumour was removed followed by radio and temozolamide chemotherapy at University College London. Having always been extremely fit and healthy, he was fortunate and suffered relatively few side effects during the nine months following his initial diagnosis. Forever the optimist, Louis was determined to beat his illness: Carpe Diem was always, and continued to be, his modus operandi throughout. Walking up to 8 miles daily throughout his treatment, travelling with Mimi, entertaining friends for dinner from all over the world, even his children couldn’t keep up with him.

“Louis truly was an inspiration to many people and we hope with your support to find a cure for the devastating illness which cut short his life”

By June of 2014, however, a second MRI scan revealed that the tumour had grown back and Louis was beginning to show early signs of physical and cognitive decline. In the months that followed, with the help of his family and friends, Louis tried PCV chemotherapy, Avastin, Disatinib, Low dose Naltrexone, Vitamin D, Melatonin, and a whole host of homeopathic remedies known to mitigate the side effects of long term chemotherapy.

While the combination of Avastin and Disatinib did reduce the size of his tumour, Louis continued to decline throughout the autumn of 2014 and was hospitalised with an acute chest infection for 16 days in November. He recovered sufficiently to go home in December and with the support of the wonderful hospice carers was at relative peace for the holidays. He lost his final battle on December 31, 2014. Poetic, even in death, we suspect his departure on New Year’s Eve was a way of letting go of a painful year and urging his beloved wife, children and sister, to step forward with courage into the New Year.

We remember him every day for irrepressible spirit and positive never-give-up attitude. His unwavering good humour and gentle dignity in the face of his illness will remain with his family and many friends forever. He is in our hearts and in our thoughts always.

All funds raised through the Louis Armstrong Memorial Fund will be used to further research into high grade brain tumours and to finance the discovery of new and more effective treatment.