Removal of a brain tumour - affectionately named Krampus - left Helen with a titanium plate in her skull and a broken eye lid. She wants to raise vital funds for the charity that helped her accept her new normal and is helping many others on their journeys.
Helen's comments when she set up her fund:
Back in September 2017, I finally went along to the walk-in centre to get my right eye proptosis checked, having ignored it for well over a year (I only went along due to concerned family and friends nagging me into it).
On 20 October, I was diagnosed with a right sphenoid wing meningioma, which I 'affectionately' named Krampus, and told that I would need surgery to remove it, as it was dangerously close to the optic nerve. I was also told that as the tumour had grown so far into the eye socket, the bone could not be saved, and the whole right eye socket would need to be removed and replaced with a titanium plate. I had my craniotomy on 10 January 2018 and Krampus was successfully removed. I recovered well, although I am left with partial numbness on the right side of my face, including opthalmoplegia (my right eye won't open). Learning to accept the new me is one of the biggest challenges I have to deal with. I have said before that there is no 'back to normal' after my experience, and that there is a new normal, but getting used to this is still very much an ongoing journey.
A friend and fellow member of the Exeter Brain Tumour Support Group took me along to my first meeting in February 2018. I didn't actually think I needed that kind of support to start with; I just wanted to find out more about it. I soon came to look forward to attending the group every month; the people there are just so inspirational and most of them are going through so much more than I am, and staying so positive. It's lovely to know there's somewhere you can go and talk to people outside your usual friends and family, people who are going through similar experiences.
I started to get involved with fundraising in the summer of 2018, helping with quizzes and making sure a collection pot was available for small change from my Slimming World group I run in Topsham. But I soon decided I wanted to do more to raise funds and the profile for this fantastic charity. So I organised several events and raised over £1,400 and now I am ready for the next challenge. So when I was asked to set up a Champion's Fund, I jumped at the chance! I've set my initial target at £10,000 to reach that would be just amazing, and to know how many people are benefiting from the funds I'm raising is such a fantastic positive to take from my whole brain tumour journey.