Step-mum, Jo Davies, 50, found out she had a brain tumour after suffering severe headaches in 2019 and was told she had just a year to live.
The family, which includes husband Mark, 50, and step-daughters, Chelsea, 27, Teigan, 20 and Evie who is 16 and their cocker spaniel, Fern, will be taking to the country lanes of Ludlow on September 24 to raise money for vital research as part of the charity’s national Walk of Hope.
Jo, a former primary school teacher said: “During one half term I spent most of the week rocking, holding my head in the foetal position. I used to suffer from migraines but I had never felt anything like this – the pain was so intense.”
After an appointment with her GP, Jo was given medication for migraines and told her symptoms could be a sign of neuralgia caused by damaged nerve endings.
Jo’s symptoms continued for six months and the pain was often debilitating, sometimes causing her to collapse.
With encouragement from her husband Mark, and a second opinion with a different GP, Jo was referred for an MRI scan at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital where she was given the devastating news of a mass on her brain.
She added: “Doctors were shocked that I was doing so well, I could walk and talk, and that wasn’t something they expected due to the type of tumour. I was determined to maintain my mobility and just before I was diagnosed, we got Fern which has been my motivation for getting out of the house and walking.”
An eight-and-a-half hour operation at Royal Stoke University Hospital confirmed her tumour was a glioblastoma (GBM) and she was given a stark prognosis of 12 to 18 months.
Jo was discharged and received six weeks of combined radio and chemotherapy.
Three years on from her diagnosis, she now has three-monthly scans to monitor for any re-growth and so far all scans have showed the tumour is stable.
“I try not to think about the limited time I have left, instead I concentrate on making memories with Mark and the girls, they keep me going. That’s part of the reason why we are taking on the Walk of Hope as a family, to make memories and help others who may be living with their own diagnosis,” she added.
Less than 12 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50 per cent across all cancers, yet historically just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours.
Mel Tiley, community, development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re sorry to hear about Jo’s diagnosis and are thankful that she has been so generous in sharing her story with us.
"The great part about Walk of Hope is that you can organise your own or join one of the nationally organised walks which you can find at our website. We wish Jo and the family well as they make more memories together.”
Walk of Hope takes place nationwide on September 24 and people are being encouraged to get involved.
Registrants will receive a free fundraising pack and a special event T-shirt.
To find the nearest walk, or register your own event, visit braintumourresearch.org/fundraise/walk-of-hope.
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 £35 million 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.
To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Jo’s fundraiser, visit facebook.com/donate/1469733236793846/.