Raising funds for research for The Brain Tumour Charity in Geert's memory.
My partner Geert, was born in Belgium in 1969; he worked in Milan and lived between both London and Milan.
Geert was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in June 2004. Geert was 35 at the time of the diagnosis of Glioblastoma Multiforme and though he had previously been incredibly healthy, fit and energetic, he passed away in July 2005, just thirteen short months later.
Geert was such a wonderfully happy person who loved life and loved living. He was very naturally gifted and talented in so many areas, including business and history and he spoke six languages fluently. He had so much warmth and love to give to everybody that came into contact with him.
Throughout all of the treatment that Geert received for his cancer, including major brain surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and the consequent terrible seizures, he never once complained but instead kept on smiling and tried to come to terms with a complete life change that comes with a terminal illness. Geert's tremendous strength of character and resilience was both inspiring and humbling.
When Geert started to have severe headaches back in May 2004 and a little later on difficulties in speaking, neither of us ever considered the enormity of what it might be. Geert worked in Milan as a director at Prada and we put everything down to the stresses of work and the extensive travelling. A few weeks later, following a brain scan, we were told of the three 'small' tumours that had shown up. It is difficult to describe the feeling of hearing such devastating news and realising that all your dreams and hopes of the future have changed in those few moments.
Ironically, though in quite different circumstances, my grandfather also died of Glioblastoma Multiforme at the age of 65.
Perhaps it is because I am now so acutely aware of this terrible disease, I hear too often of so many young people being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
I think of Geert every moment and regret deeply that he is not here next to me enjoying the beautiful life that we shared together and dreamed of but he continues to give me strength and will always be my guiding light.