Tumour support group is a lifeline
Organisation provides home for families
WHEN a massive brain tumour shattered Richard Taylor’s world, a Hillingdon charity provided much needed solace.
Mr Taylor was just 38 and had started a new career as a driving instructor when he was diagnosed with a large acoustic neuroma in 2011, after going to the doctor for a hearing test.
He underwent a 14-hour operation to save his life and – over time – has been coming to terms with what happened thanks to the support of the Hillingdon Brain Tumour Group, which was started by Eastcote and East Ruislip councillor Beck Haggar.
Mr Taylor, who lives in Pinner with his wife Jacquie, said: “I found out about my tumour just by a random hearing test. Rather than just giving me a hearing aid they sent me off for an MRI and I found out I had a giant tumour. The doctor said if I hadn’t had that, with the speed it was growing at, I would have been dead within 18 months.”
He received treatment at Charing Cross hospital and was told by a doctor that his tumour ‘ was the biggest one he’d seen for 20 years’ at 6.5cm.
He said the brain tumour group, which meet twice a month, every second Thursday 1pm to 3pm and every last Saturday of the month noon to 2pm at Hillingdon Baptist Church, allowed him to speak about his ordeal rather than bottling it up.
He added: “It gives me the opportunity to vent my feelings as I’ve never had that opportunity before.
“Some things I’d try and keep from my wife but there’s some things that you need to get out. I’ve had four years of not being able to say that and now I can.”
Richard’s wife discovered the group after searching online for help because her husband had received no aftercare and was not aware of any support groups.
Jacquie said: “When my husband was sent home from hospital he’d often fall on the floor or down the stairs and no one came round to keep an eye on him. Now we’re all talking about it whereas when we left hospital after the operation it was just done. So we’ve needed the help and support from the group.”
The couple say meeting people going through similar things has helped them come to terms with the effects having a brain tumour can have on a family.
She added: “I would never stop coming to the group. We’ve only been coming here for seven weeks but it feels like we’ve known everyone forever.”
Cllr Becky Haggar founded the group after her husband, Cyril, had a brain tumour removed after repeat misdiagnosis.
She said: “I started group straight after Cyril’s operation. I felt so desperate, so upset and just needed someone to talk to. I thought: It can’t just be me. There’s got to be many people who’s going through what we are. Benign tumours still kill, but chemotherapy doesn’t work on them and you can’t access support from cancer charities.”
The group is hosting an awareness day on July 3 at Uxbridge Civic Centre from 9.30am to 1.30pm. To attend, email bhaggar@hillingdon. gov.uk.
n SUPPORT: The Taylor family with the Hillingdon Brain Tumour Group