In August 2019, at the age of 33, Louise suffered a seizure which led to the diagnosis of a brain tumour. The diagnosis was a diffuse astrocytoma, a type of low-grade glioma.
Her world turned upside down. Being an A&E nurse, she fully understood that life can change at any moment but never believed it would be her own life.
She had successful surgery, which removed most of the tumour, but was told that around 20% of the tumour remained – and that the chances were high that this would eventually grow further and develop into a high-grade tumour. She has six-monthly scans to monitor the tumour, which so far remains stable.
Louise found it difficult to deal with the emotional aspects of her diagnosis, and her neuropsychologist recommended that she try running. During the first Covid lockdown, she thought she might as well give this a go and started the ‘Couch to 5k’ programme. She continued from there and in October 2021, just 18 months after her first foray into running, she completed the London Marathon as part of Team #BrainResearch. She ran with friend Emma and together they raised the staggering sum of £10,500! They added a further £6,000 to this total when they took to the streets of London once again for the 2022 London Marathon.
Louise was delighted to learn that funds raised by Team #BrainResearch have helped fund research into low-grade glioma.
Neurosurgeon Richard Mair at the University of Cambridge was awarded a Brain Research UK project grant in 2021 for research focused on blocking the progression from low-grade glioma (LGG) to high-grade glioma (HGG).
As Louise knows only too well, there is no cure for LGG, and all patients will ultimately progress to HGG, at which point their prognosis is around two years. Patients undergo regular surveillance to detect this progression, and Richard proposes that this surveillance period is a perfect time during which to intervene. He believes that patient prognosis could be extended significantly by intervening whilst the cancer remains low-grade rather than waiting for it to progress. You can read about his research here: Richard Mair: Blocking progression of low-grade brain tumours
I was overjoyed to hear that Richard Mair's research had received funding from donations to the marathon. I am very aware that my tumour will ultimately develop into a glioblastoma and then my life expectancy will dramatically shorten. How can we not treat these types of brain tumours earlier to stop them progressing or get a cure? I will always have brain cancer but all I can hope for is that another person will have a better chance of a cure in the future.