The Kate Stevens Fund

Raising funds for The Brain Tumour Charity in Kate's memory.

Kate's Story

Kate was born in the maternity wing of the Royal Berks Hospital, Reading on the 30th May 1971.

Kate lived in Yateley until she was four when the family moved to Farnborough where she grew up with her younger brother Peter. Kate attended the local schools near her home, Manor Infants, Manor Juniors and finally Cove Comprehensive. Kate worked hard at school and was a conscientious scholar always trying to do her best. Kate continued to work hard and give of her best throughout her life.

After leaving school Kate worked in an office for a short while before embarking on a career with a cosmetics supplier company based in Ascot. As well as supplying two ranges of French cosmetics the company ran a training school and this is where Kate started work as an administrator. Kate wanted to be a Beauty Therapist and while qualifying as a Beauty Therapist at work Kate also completed a series of Beauty Therapy Courses up to Diploma level at Farnborough Technical College. Kate was making good progress in her career and enjoying all aspects of her work. Kate was an attractive girl and well suited to involvement in the cosmetics world. Kate took great pride in her appearance and always looked quite beautiful with the clever use of make up, her different haircuts and colours over the years and her stylish dress sense. Like most girls Kate loved to shop and took full advantage with many shopping sprees. As Kate progressed in her chosen career so her home life blossomed. Kate passed her driving test at seventeen, bought her first car and gained more independence. When Kate was 23 she took her first step on the property ladder. In March 1995 Kate bought a one bedroom flat in Frimley and the future was looking so promising for Kate.

Then as will be a familiar tale to people posting tributes on this site just as life was promising so much for Kate suddenly things changed. Back in 1990 when aged just nineteen Kate had been suffering from headaches on and off for a few months and even visits to her doctor did not provide a cure. The headaches were getting worse and eventually her doctor suggested a brain scan but there was a six week waiting list, at this point Kate broke down saying that she could not cope with the pain for that long. The doctor managed to arrange for an emergency scan to take place and the rest is history as they say. The scan revealed that Kate had a Low Grade Astrocytoma, a brain tumour above her right ear and she was whisked off to the Atkinson Morley Hospital in Wimbledon for an emergency operation the following day. Kate had a partially awake Craniotomy. Kate recovered well and after a course of Radio Therapy treatment at St Luke's in Guildford and a lengthy convalescence Kate picked up her life again and returned home and back to work.

Life was back to normal for Kate apart from needing an annual brain scan to check if the tumour had re-grown. Kate was told after her first operation that it was unknown if the tumour would reappear or when it would do so hence the need for regular scans. In late 1995 Kate had her scan as usual and was told afterwards that the results were inconclusive. Kate always found having the brain scans stressful and this news caused her great concern leading on to the onset of further problems for Kate.

Just before Christmas 1995 Kate had what is called a psychotic episode, a breakdown to you and me, and as well as coping with the physical consequences of having had a brain tumour Kate had to cope with mental health problems for the rest of her life. In December 1995 Kate was admitted to the Ridgewood Hospital near Frimley and spent Christmas in hospital. It took nearly six years for Kate to find a level of stability in her life and settle back into independent living again. During this period Kate had several admissions to the Ridgewood both as a formal and informal patient, lost her job and career prospects as well as being able to drive a car again.

As well as having to cope with mental health issues in April 1997 Kate had to undergo a second brain tumour operation, Kate's fears were realised and the tumour had re-grown. In early 1999 Kate had to sell her flat in Frimley, sadly apart from the first few months of ownership Kate had not been able to properly enjoy living in a home of her own.

Kate had to go for her third brain tumour operation early on in 2000, the same type of operation was performed and as a result of this operation Kate was left disabled like a stroke victim. Kate never regained the use of her left arm but after rehabilitation in a special unit in Haslemere Kate learnt to walk again. To help with her walking Kate had to use a walking stick for the rest of her life, her stick was as colourful as she was. After this operation Kate was left with a 'clawed like' left foot that made walking uncomfortable and to ease this problem Kate had to have corrective surgery to her foot on two occasions in Frimley Park Hospital. To further improve and help her to walk Kate had to regularly attend Farnham Hospital Physiotherapy and Podiatry departments. Kate also attended clinics at Woking Hospital for Botox muscle relaxant injections in both her left arm and left leg. Kate was due to have a further foot operation in January 2013, once again striving to improve the quality of her life.

The operation in 2000 to remove the brain tumour proved to be unsuccessful, a scan soon after the operation revealed that the tumour was already showing signs of re-growth. Further surgery was not an option at this time so Kate was referred to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton for a course of Chemotherapy. Kate was told that there was only a 50% success rate with this particular treatment and fortunately for Kate the treatment worked and Kate remained in remission until early in 2012. Kate was able to cope better with her mental health problems during this period although there were times when Kate continued to struggle with day to day living. A routine brain scan in 2012 revealed that the tumour had re-appeared once more. Kate faced yet another operation and the thought of enduring a fourth operation caused lot of stress and worry for her. Kate had the operation in July 2102 and a subsequent scan revealed that the operation was a success with no signs of the tumour re-growing.

After a harrowing few months Kate was once again emerging from her troubles and looking forward to a brighter year in 2013 in fact in December 2012 Kate had made two job applications and when I last spoke to her Kate was thinking of her next holiday and sounded positively upbeat.

Kate was first diagnosed with having a brain tumour in 1990 when she was just nineteen years old and this led to Kate having to deal with a succession of health problems for the rest of her life. Kate never had a clean bill of health after the first brain tumour operation and always worried that the tumour would eventually kill her. How ironic that Kate died in her sleep due to a heart attack and the final twist being the birth of her niece a few hours of her death, a date for us to remember forever with mixed emotions.

Kate was so beautiful and so incredibly brave.

Kate was a good person and deserved so much more from her time with us, we miss her so much.

To date the fund has raised £2588.55

Thank you so much to Jo Cullen and her wonderful colleagues at Zurich for their kind and ongoing support, including raising over £400 by holding a fundraising day and cake sale in May.