"He'd not had any headaches"
Natalie had been married to Steve for 24 years when one day he came home from work complaining of a numb hand. He dismissed this at first but then his leg went numb too and he went to the doctor. Suspecting a stroke, he was sent to hospital for investigations.
Three weeks later, Steve died. He had had a brain tumour.
“It was all such a huge shock,” said Natalie. “He’d not had any headaches or any other symptoms, or so we thought. After the initial shock, we realised that there had been other symptoms, but that we would never have thought of them as being sinister or serious.”
His personality had changed – he had become grumpy, but he was nearly 50 and his family put it down to middle age. A few times, he became confused – he picked up a pen and thought it was a phone, but that was funny at the time and was laughed off. He began to find physical things tiring and he had put on weight– again, this was put down to getting older.
“You don’t think of these symptoms being linked to a brain tumour,” said Natalie. “You think a brain tumour has to give you headaches, but Steve never had headaches.”
He had an operation to try and remove the tumour, but it could not all be removed and was growing quickly. Steve died a couple of weeks before his 50th birthday.
A new challenge
“It was all such a whirlwind,” said Natalie. “We didn’t have time to process it all and so our children and I found it all very difficult.”
Natalie felt she needed something else to focus on and she wanted to do something in Steve’s memory. So, together with her sister, Natalie trekked along the Great Wall of China. “It was the experience of a lifetime,” she said. “Yes, I was raising money for charity, but I was doing something for myself at the same time. It was really tough but such a great experience.”
“I chose Brain Tumour Support because I wanted the money I raised to make an impact. I knew that raising a couple of thousand pounds for a small charity would really make a difference and would be appreciated. I know that every penny is valued.”
Natalie’s fundraising has inspired Steve’s colleagues to do the same. A group of them are taking on the Three Peaks Challenge with the aim of raising £20,000 in his honour.
“Steve was a man who reflected all that was good about the human spirit,” says John, who is organising the fundraiser. “He lit up every room he graced, laughter always echoed in his presence, whatever the occasion! He was the true life and soul of the party with an envious if not wicked sense of humour. It was impossible not to smile in his presence. Steve’s passing has left a void in everyone’s life but we are all the better for meeting and knowing him and experiencing his humour, kindness and charity.”
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