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Hal raises dough for research

Interviewed by our Young Ambassador, Grace Latter, Hal Cruttenden opens up about his mum’s diagnosis and why he supports the work we do

“My mum had a GBM and she knew from the word go that this was only going to be a matter of time, it’s horrendous that this sort of diagnosis can hit anyone out of the blue and at any age.

I now know there are so many symptoms that can affected people. For my mum, it was her speech while she was travelling with her friend in India in 2013.

They thought she had had a stroke and she suddenly couldn’t talk. She was stabilised and she never had those symptoms that other people have, such as personality changes. She just increasingly lost her speech as the disease progressed.

My older sister and I flew out to get her from the hospital, she was transferred from Jaipur to Delhi, where we met her. And the doctors in Delhi were just brilliant.

A doctor said ‘I think this is bad and you need to see a specialist when you get back’ and he prepared us to face the worst.

We had time with my mum. She knew she had maybe 12 months so we managed to do little trips and make the most of being together as a family.

She was extraordinary. The only thing we didn’t do was to see Northern lights but you can’t guarantee they’ll come out! But it was also the little things, such as Andy Murray winning Wimbledon (she was a massive tennis fan) that were equally important.

My mum was very aware of what the diagnosis was and she concentrated on enjoying the time we had together. She was immediately aware of how much worse off other people were.

I’m a very bad example of a mature person and I find that when things happen to me, I panic about the tiniest things. If the cat brings in a mouse, I fall apart.

With my mum I felt weirdly positive because she was so strong and so loving. We luckily had that extra time, through the treatment she had, to create some special memories before she died.

Watching my Mum decline and battle so bravely through two operations, the radiation and chemotherapy treatments was obviously tough.

On receiving the diagnosis she said, ‘Well, I’ve had a wonderful life’.

It is unimaginable to me how people cope with such news when it’s delivered to them when they’re a young adult or when it’s about their little child.

That’s why the work that The Brain Tumour Charity do is so important and so inspiring.”