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Pete and Christina's story

Diagnosed with a glioblastoma last year, Pete has accepted he won’t see his children grow up, but cherishes every second with his family.

Pete is a devoted dad to two-year-old Bella with another baby on the way. 

“We thought long and hard about having children because we know Christina will be by herself."

Diagnosed with a glioblastoma last year, he has accepted he won't see them grow up, but cherishes every second with his family.

As Casualty's brain tumour storyline, which we advised on, on Saturday (3 September) develops as (Owain Arthur) and girlfriend nurse Robyn (Amanda Henderson) find out he has only two years to live after being diagnosed with a glioblastoma, it struck a chord with Pete and his wife, Christina.

Just six months after they met in their second year at university, Pete and Christina shared their dream of having children one day.

But, after Pete was diagnosed with a low grade glioma seven years ago and doctors warned it would inevitably become cancerous, the couple had to have a very different discussion.

Suddenly it was 'if' we have children not 'when.' We had to think long and hard and talk very honestly about it," said Pete.

My main worry was for Christina as I think it's tougher on her – she faces years ahead of being alone bringing up our children."

I understand some people may think it's selfish to bring children into the world knowing they're not going to have a father. But we felt we should still have the right to move forwards with our lives and share the joy of having a family."

Nine months after his diagnosis, Pete proposed and the couple got married six years ago. From the moment Bella was born in August 2014, she's brought them nothing but joy.

In April last year, a scan revealed Pete had a glioblastoma. He said: "It was the shock we'd always been expecting."

Pete had sperm frozen before he started his radiotherapy; but it was an even tougher decision when Christina dearly wanted Bella to have a sibling. She's now pregnant and they're looking forward to the new arrival in February.

Christina said; “Pete's here now and he's a brilliant dad. And, when he's gone, I know that his love and happy memories we're creating will help me bring up our children.

Somehow I will be enough for them because I have to be."

He said; “At 32, I have accepted my brain tumour is going to kill me and that will probably be in 12-15 months.No one knows exactly how long, but it's inevitable."

But Christina struggles more to accept it.

She said; “I'm much more emotional than Pete and sometimes I get angry and upset, but I've learned that it achieves absolutely nothing. I also learn from Pete as he hasn't got an ounce of self-pity. It's like we're leading a surreal double life. On one level, we live with the terrible knowledge and fear that Pete will die, but at the same time you've still got to empty the bins and make dinner."

Somehow you have to find a way to carry on and adjust to your new normal because you haven't got any other choice."

Pete loves spending time with Frozen fan Bella watching her favourite film (over and over again!) with her and pushing her on the swings in the park.

I want to make the most of the precious time with her when I'm feeling well," said Pete, who is now involved with our Research Involvement Network our helps us review grant applications for funding from a patient's perspective.

“Now I'm writing letters for Bella to have when I'm not here and want to make them into a book. I try to live in the present and cherish every second with my little whirlwind of fun."

Media contacts at The Brain Tumour Charity

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