We are raising funds for The Brain Tumour Charity in memory of Keith Collins. He was my husband’s younger brother and my brother-in-law. Keith died on 24th February 2013 from a Glioblastoma Multiforme aged 38.
Keith was very active and liked to run and cycle. He was good at cricket and loved football. Keith loved to travel and had been to Israel, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa in the years before he was ill. At the time of his diagnosis he was planning to walk around the world in the footsteps of his hero Ffyona Campbell. In fact Keith was directly responsible in encouraging Ffyona back into public life after he set up an appreciation group.
A shock diagnosis in May 2012 was to prevent his epic walk. While out one day he had a seizure and was taken to hospital. We didn’t know for 4 days because he couldn’t remember our details. He was diagnosed with a large malignant tumour in his left lobe. Recent subtle behaviour changes suddenly made sense to us. Doctors estimated the tumour could have been growing for 10 years.
“We raise money in his name to help the fight against brain tumours because we don’t want other people to go through the same as Keith. He was in the prime of his life with so much more to do and see. He never got to settle down with a girlfriend or wife and never got to be a dad. By having supporter groups The Brain Tumour Charity allows Keith’s name to live on and help others”
Queen’s Hospital in Romford looked after Keith brilliantly. Keith decided against radiotherapy and couldn’t be offered chemotherapy due to his confusion and lack of comprehension by this point. He was given a prognosis of 3 months.
We began to care for Keith and he came round everyday. My husband and Keith had always enjoyed watching sport together and in 2012 we enjoyed a wonderful summer of sport. Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France, we cheered on England in the Euros, and thoroughly enjoyed the London Olympics and the Paralympics. We still can’t watch the Anniversary Games without tears.
These events served to distract us a bit from the inevitable and lighten the mood. Due to the location of his tumour Keith went through huge personality changes which were difficult to manage and help him with. At one point, and despite being extremely vulnerable, Keith tried to run away to Los Angeles with no medication and only a rucksack full of cutlery and a tent. Fortunately security picked him up at Heathrow when he tried to get on the wrong plane and the police did a great job of looking after him until we arrived.
As the autumn drew on Keith declined further and further until he could no longer be looked after at home. The NHS paid for Keith to move into a private care home and he was supported by the local hospice. At Christmas we opened his presents with him but he didn’t really know what was going on.
Keith died in February 2013. He had put up an incredibly strong and brave fight. He lived for 9 months after his prognosis.