Our Christmas appeal,This time last year, will fund pioneering and ground-breaking research to defeat brain tumours.
Louise Smith and her family are championing the appeal.
This time last year, Louise was diagnosed with a brain tumour and given the devastating news that the Christmas she was about to enjoy with her family, could be her last.
Louise said: “I tried my best not to feel afraid of the waiting and the unknown, and to make the most of this chance to spend Christmas with my friends and family as if it might be my last.
“I was now aware of the many risks involved and that ultimately, I might not survive."
Louise's journey began in August 2016 when she had a routine eye test after experiencing slight “blurry moments" and minor headaches.
Dismissing these as just the effects of being overtired and working with computers, she also experienced difficulty finding certain words but had had no inkling of the devastating diagnosis that lay ahead.
“The hardest part was telling our daughter, Amelie, just eight at the time. When we told her what was going to happen the first thing she asked was; 'are you scared?'"
“I didn't want Amelie to worry. When you're eight-years-old, parents are invincible!"
“With Christmas approaching, even though I wanted to get surgery out of the way and not wait, it meant I could have quality time at home with my friends and family and not be in hospital or recovering over the holidays.
Louise needed major surgery after Christmas, which had significant risks - her quality of life could dramatically change.
Louise and her husband, Mike, were determined to stay positive and make the most of the time they had at Christmas, keeping things as normal as possible for their daughter, Amelie, and making special memories with the people closest to them.
Mike said: “Despite the festivities, underneath it all I couldn't help feeling utterly frightened that Lou's life would be in the hands of the surgeon in just a few weeks' time and I didn't know what the future held for my family.
“And whether you're living with a brain tumour, supporting a loved one with a brain tumour or remembering someone you've lost, I'm sure you know that feeling all too well."
By supporting us this festive season, you can help fund vital research to increase survival and get closer to a cure so people like Louise and her family don't have to face the possibility of a last Christmas together.
“I have a new challenge ahead of me. I know I'll be ready and have the strength to get through it, and with the help of my family and friends I'll be ok, one step at a time."