I had a brain tumour – here are the first warning signs I experienced

Brain tumour: Cancer Research UK on 'different types' in 2017

Marcus Elwell, 41, from Shirley in Solihull, started experiencing two changes in his day-to-day life before he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The red flags that rang alarm bells for the dad were exhaustion and changes in his personality.

These two key symptoms led to him being diagnosed with a low-grade haemangioblastoma in May 2021. 

According to the charity Brain Tumour Research, haemangioblastoma is formed from cells that line the blood vessels at an early stage of their development. 

Fortunately, these types of brain tumours are almost always benign, commonly slow-growing, and they don’t spread to other parts of the brain.

READ MORE Man, 41, hit with brain tumour diagnosis after drinking too much water

However, only two out of every 100 brain tumours are haemangioblastoma, the Brain Tumour Research adds.

Marcus told CoventryLive: “I’ve come a long way in the last two years in both body and mind.

“I feel privileged to be where I am today but I know that other patients aren’t as fortunate.”

The dad needed emergency surgery after the mass was found but his regular scans have been stable since.

Now, he’s motivated to be part of the change that Brain Tumour Research is leading and he has since taken part in an obstacle race with his three children – Millie,13, Noah, 11, and Gracie, eight.

Trying to help raise awareness of the disease, they all participated in the Wolf Run in Warwickshire, a three-kilometre race consisting of woods, obstacles, lakes and fields. 

Marcus, who works as a life coach, credits his positive outlook to his children.

He said: “It was a brilliant day of making memories with the children. They have given me strength during my diagnosis. Whenever I have wanted to give up, I remember why I can’t, and that’s the kids.”

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Speaking of the challenge, he added: “It was a lot muddier than we thought it would be. The kids love the mud mountain and lakes and I could tell they were determined to complete the course.”

While this challenge wasn’t the first for Marcus, it was the first he did with his children.

“It was fun to have them with me for this challenge, rather than watching from the sidelines or seeing pictures after the event,” he said.

Since his diagnosis, the dad-of-three has raised almost £6,000 for Brain Tumour Research. 

Just six months after his brain surgery, he took part in a half marathon even though his operation left him having to re-learn how to walk.

But Marcus’ fundraising endeavours don’t end there as he is now planning to compete in Hyrox Birmingham, a challenge of strength and endurance.

Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, added: “We’re grateful for Marcus’ continued support and to see him take part in a new challenge, this time with his children, is truly heart-warming.

“Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just one percent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours since records began in 2002. It’s the support of people like Marcus, Millie, Noah and Gracie which will help us find better treatment options and ultimately a cure for people diagnosed with brain tumours.”

Visit Marcus’ JustGiving page to donate to Brain Tumour Research via his family obstacle race.

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