A brain tumour survivor joined hundreds of grateful patients, family and friends at an event to raise thousands for Neurocare Charity at its biggest annual fundraiser.
Mum Holly Crosby, aged 32, from North Anston was amongst the crowds at Rother Valley Country Park for Head Start- a 5k and 10k running event to raise funds for the neurosciences department at the city’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
Holly was treated on the Neurosciences ward a decade ago, having been diagnosed with a Craniopharyngioma – a rare type of brain tumour, following a routine blood test which showed her hormone levels were unusually high.
Holly underwent brain surgery and radiotherapy to remove the tumour, after being told she could lose her sight and that the location of the tumour may affect her fertility.
But she defied the odds and fell pregnant with baby boy Isaac who’s now 6 years old, just before her wedding.
She said: “I went to see the GP because my skin was so angry and red, no matter what I did to treat it. However, my main concern was that I had a spontaneous flow of milk from my breasts which wasn’t associated with childbirth or nursing and was later diagnosed as galactorrhoea. At 22 this was a rather embarrassing problem but one I couldn’t ignore.
“I was sent for blood tests which also showed high hormone levels. This was treated with medication initially, and I was sent for an MRI scan of my brain. The doctor said he didn’t expect anything to show and it was just a precaution but luckily, I had one anyway.
“The MRI scan found a brain tumour the size of a grape in a space about the size of a pea. My surgeon said I had about a month before I would have started to lose my vision as it was on my optic nerve at this point.
“I was warned I might go blind if it was not removed, which was devastating. It was a very scary time not just for me but my family as well.
“In April 2008 I had brain surgery. As much of the tumour as possible was removed and a drainage tube was inserted which came out through my nose to drain away what was left. I needed radiotherapy in Jan 2009 as there was a little bit of the tumour remaining.
“We were told before treatment that one of the side effects could be that I wouldn’t ovulate and therefore I may need treatment to fall pregnant and even then there was no guarantee that it would work.
“As I was only 22 at the time, this wasn’t something my now husband, Carl and I were thinking about, so we put that to the back of our minds. When the time came that we wanted to think about children, I had a few months of tests, where it was found that I may have fertility problems.
“We decided to go ahead with our wedding and deal with this after – then I unexpectedly fell pregnant and Isaac was born in March 2012.
“Since then everything has been fine – I just have to have routine tests each year to keep a check on things.
“Over the years it has been difficult to live with – either worrying about the future or thinking about difficult times in the past. I’ve had a lot of support from close family and friends and I’d encourage others to talk about the truth of how things like this affects you.
“I’m lucky, as being a counsellor and life coach I really understand my own feelings and how to best manage them. And that’s possibly not something others find easy, which is why I’d always encourage it, because that has been key.”
To say thank you for her care, previously Holly has raised £800 for Neurocare with a further £1,200 raised from the Head Start event.