A police officer from St Neots who is fighting terminal brain cancer hopes his story will help to raise awareness about the disease.
Steve Holbrook, 36, was diagnosed with a grade four multiform brain tumour in 2015; an aggressive and incurable cancer.
“I find it terrifying and very hard to come to terms with the fact that no one can tell me what has caused my tumour,” the father-of-two told The Hunts Post.
Steve suffered his first symptoms – a headache and poor vision – during the Milton Keynes half-marathon in January 2015, but the pain in his head became a regular occurrence and he decided to visit Hinchingbrooke Hospital with wife, Carrie.
“As she went to get a ticket for the car park I lost all feeling down the left hand side of my body,” he said.
“I feared I was having a stroke. Our son Mason was with me and, although he must have been frightened, he said sweetly: ‘It’s alright daddy, you’ll be OK’.
“By the time Carrie could get a wheelchair to help me into the hospital building I felt the most extreme, screaming pain and threw up everywhere.”
Steve, who has been an officer with Bedfordshire Police for 15 years, was told he had a mass on his brain, but couldn’t understand why, despite living healthily.
He had weighed 19 stone and smoked up to 100 cigarettes a week, but in 2006 he decided to get fit.
“I had put so much work into getting myself healthy that I never expected anything like this would happen,” he said.
Surgeons removed the four centimetre tumour in April, 2015, and Steve was back running just weeks later.
“Unbelievably, two weeks after surgery I was back out running which felt great, albeit a little
disconcerting to hear my skull creaking where the bone had yet to fuse back together.”
Steve, who has two children aged six and three, underwent chemotherapy treatment, but in January was given the devastating news that his tumour had returned.
“Although we talk a lot, I can see the pain in Carrie’s eyes when we voice our fears about what lies ahead.”
Now, Steve wants to raise awareness and help others, working closely with the Brain Tumour Research charity to fund vital research into the condition. He said: “The fact that so little is known about this illness which is so devastating, not just for patients but for their families as well, is a great injustice and why more research must be done.”
The charity will is holding its Wear a Hat Day on March 24, encouraging people to don a hat in recognition of National Brain Tumour Awareness Month.
A £5 donation can be made by sending a text message to: HAT to 70660. For more information, go to: www.braintumourresearch.org