A MAN who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer is the inspiration behind a day of fundraising activities for Brain Tumour Research.
Father-of-two Richard Walker was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) on New Year’s Eve, the same day he turned 51 and celebrated his ninth wedding anniversary with wife, Lucy, 44.
On Friday (March 25), employees and customers of four Lloyds Bank branches across Worcester, Kidderminster, Droitwich and Cleobury Mortimer, led by Richard’s sister-in-law, bank manager Louise Pardoe, will be encouraged to wear hats and donate to Brain Tumour Research, as part of the charity’s annual Wear A Hat Day fundraiser.
In September 2021, Richard, the managing director of Weldmax UK Ltd, based in Stourport-on-Severn, began to experience severe pain at the back of his head which would last for days and over time, Richard’s symptoms became more debilitating.
“I woke up feeling like I had been ‘on the pop’ – which I hadn’t. I could see red and green lights in the corner of my right eye and remember a friend telling me about something similar they experienced whilst they were having a stroke and I thought that was happening to me.”
Richard’s symptoms worsened and after losing his peripheral vision he was forced to pull over his van and seek help from strangers, who called Lucy to come and pick him up. She took him to A&E at Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.
“I felt delirious and my eyes were rolling to the back of my head and I was fighting not to pass out. Everything was a blur and when I woke up, I was told I had a lesion on my brain. I asked if it was cancer and they said it was.”
Richard had a further three CT scans and two MRIs to assess the tumour and was transferred to the neurological unit at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW). Results from further tests revealed the tumour was the size of a satsuma and attached ‘like a millipede’ to his optic nerve, deeming it inoperable, due to risk of further damage.
Richard is due to celebrate his last day of a six-week course of radiotherapy this month, before he tours the four Lloyds branches on March 25 organised by Louise as part of Wear A Hat Day. Their aim is to collect £2,740, which represents the cost of a day of research at one of the charity’s Centres of Excellence.
“Together Lucy and I have told the kids over time. Max is eight and his school has been very supportive. We bought him a book which is called ‘someone I love has cancer’ and that’s been a great tool to help him understand what’s happening to me. Evie is 16 and wants to be a doctor and has a nurturing personality and just wants to help me.
“I’ve felt, sad, angry and frustrated, especially as I can no longer drive. Reading the statistics about brain tumours is the fuel to my fight. I feel so lucky when I wake up in the morning. I decided to document my brain tumour journey on Instagram as a way of offloading my thoughts and as a place for people to see for themselves.
“Lots of people ask how I am and this was an easy way of answering.”
Now in its 13th year, Wear A Hat Day has raised more than £2 million for Brain Tumour Research to help fund the fight against the disease. It is one of the UK’s biggest and best-loved brain tumour research awareness and fund-raising days.
This year, the charity’s Wear A Hat Day pin badges have a regal theme in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and several of the charity’s celebrity ambassadors are fronting the campaign, including TV personalities Danny Clarke and Sarah Beeny, actor and long-time supporter Dame Sheila Hancock DBE, and brain tumour survivor Caprice Bourret.
Danny lost his sister to a brain tumour; Sheila’s grandson was treated for the disease when he was just four years old; Sarah was in her 20s when she lost her mum to a brain tumour; Caprice had surgery for a brain tumour six years ago. They are encouraging everyone to take part and help fund the fight against this devastating disease.
Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re sorry to hear about Richard’s diagnosis and wish him well for his ongoing scans. His diagnosis reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate and can strike anyone at any time. We appreciate Louise’s support and thank the family for fundraising to help find a cure.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.
The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
If you’d like to show your support you can also donate by visiting this link: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Louise-Pardoe
To follow Richard’s journey please visit his Instagram page here: www.instagram.com/trickys_bt/