In August 2016 John was diagnosed with a grade four glioblastoma. His diagnosis led to an emergency operation and grueling rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. When diagnosed, John was given just 15 months to live. But six years later, he has had no reoccurrence and has ambitions plans to run the London Marathon with his wife Rachel.
John’s diagnosis has had a big impact on his family, but they are determined to raise awareness of brain tumours.
“One thing that is very important to me now is that people become aware of the symptoms of this form of cancer as there is no doubt in my mind that the earlier it is picked up, the easier it is to treat and many of the symptoms you may not associate with a brain tumour.”
Becoming a Charity Ambassador
In 2018 John became a charity ambassador. Alongside his family, he is working hard to raise money to help fund pioneering research into brain tumours. The family have already completed various fundraising events. Rachel has run various half marathons and even the London marathon last year.
“When watching last year’s marathon and seeing all those people raising money for their chosen charities we both said wouldn’t it be great to do together even though John is suffering neuropathy in his feet.”
A marathon like no other
The couple are no strangers to epic fundraising events. Rachel took on the London Landmarks Half Marathon when her husband John was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016. Together with a separate fundraising sportsman dinner event, the couple have raised over £12,000.
Back then, Rachel said: “John expressed an interest in supporting The Brain Tumour Charity to fund research into the disease. Rachel wanted to support him and, although she admits that she wasn’t much of a runner, she took on the challenge to raise much-needed funds for The Brain Tumour Charity.
“Previously, I was someone who didn’t do exercise. I preferred being at home, watching TV and relaxing. But, four months before John was diagnosed, I’d decided to take up running and, after he was diagnosed, I decided to put my new hobby to good use.
“To go from being someone who would fall apart after running 200 yards, to being someone who could run 13.1 miles was a huge achievement. Each time, I found the races very difficult having COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) myself but I would think of John and it would pull me through.”
The couple have both began training for this year’s marathon. John and Rachel plan to cross the finish line together after what is sure to be an emotional run.
You could run the London Marathon or help find a cure for brain tumours in other ways!
If you’re inspired by John and Rachel’s story, see what events you can join. If running’s not your thing, there are many ways to get involved and raise funds to move us further, faster to a world without brain tumours
Do you know the signs and symptoms of a brain tumour? Check out our Better Safe Than Tumour campaign and use the symptom checker today. If you experience two or more symptoms for your age, then get checked out by your GP as soon as possible.