Daughter of beloved Harrogate dad and grandad who died from brain tumour raising awareness

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A North Yorkshire woman is raising awareness of brain tumours after her dad died from the disease.

Verity Tobin, 33, from Harrogate, is working with the Brain Tumour Research charity during GBM Awareness Week which began on Monday 18 July. Verity’s dad, Andrew Tobin, 58, died from a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour in July 2021.

Verity first realised something was wrong in March 2021 when Andrew, also dad to Dale, 32, and Chris, 40, started having problems with his right leg.

Verity, who is preparing to mark the one year anniversary of her dad’s death, said:

Dad’s leg would stop moving, and then it would be OK again, so he thought it was a trapped nerve.

He called the GP who immediately told him to go to the emergency room at Harrogate District Hospital. He had an MRI scan which revealed a one centimetre mass on his brain.

Andrew and his grandson
Andrew and his grandson
Andrew Tobin
Andrew Tobin

Grandfather of six Andrew, who worked at Taylors of Harrogate, was told by doctors that surgery would be too dangerous because the tumour’s location could lead to paralysis. A biopsy revealed the tumour was a GBM.

Verity, a manager at Lloyds Bank, said:

When I heard the news, I was inconsolable and I’ve never felt anything like it.

We were told that Dad had just 12 to 18 months to live, which was so hard to hear. It was the worst feeling ever.

Andrew, who was married to wife Nicoll for 35 years, was to undergo radiotherapy and had a mask fitted for the treatment at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds.

Verity said:

Shortly after the fitting, Dad had a fall so he had another MRI scan at the hospital. It showed that the tumour had grown, and had spread across his brain like a spider’s web. It has grown so quickly.

Andrew was told he could no longer have radiotherapy, but underwent a six-week course of chemotherapy which left him feeling very tired. His condition quickly deteriorated and he had to use a wheelchair because his mobility declined. He also developed blood clots on his lungs, causing shortness of breath.

Andrew with son Dale, sister in law Gabriells, and wife Nicoll
Andrew with son Dale, sister in law Gabriells, and wife Nicoll
Andrew with his wife Nicoll
Andrew with his wife Nicoll

Andrew died suddenly in his sleep on 28 July 2021, just four months after his diagnosis.

In May 2022, Verity took part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, raising £9,000 for Brain Tumour Research.

Verity said:

It’s so important for me to raise money to help find a cure for this devastating disease. It’s unbelievable how little funding there is for brain tumours, and the treatment options are minimal.

Everything happened so fast, and the tumour affected everything. It was horrific.

According to Brain Tumour Research, GBM is the most commonly diagnosed high-grade brain tumour in adults. It is fast-growing and the average survival time is just 12 to 18 months. Treatment options are extremely limited and there is no cure.

Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said:

We’re really grateful to Verity for working with us, as it’s only with the support of people like her that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumours and improve the outcome for patients like Andrew who are forced to fight this awful disease.

Brain tumours are indiscriminate. They can affect anyone at any time. Too little is known about the causes and that is why increased investment in research is vital.

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 calling 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, visit:

braintumourresearch.org/donation/donate-to-brain-tumour-research

 

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