Tu­mour sup­port group is a life­line

Or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vides home for fam­i­lies

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Clemen­tine kather­ine.clemen­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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