Brain tumour patient Adam Dilley says he’s completely besotted with his new son Alfie after his partner Tasha White gave birth in Bedford Hospital just before Christmas last year.
Adam, who lives in Bedford Borough, was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) just two months before Alfie was born, after months of doctors misdiagnosing his symptoms as sinusitis.
Little Alfie Dilley was born at Bedford Hospital just after 9 pm on 11 December 2021, weighing 7lbs 3oz and his arrival has brought untold joy to his parents.
Just months earlier, Adam was rushed to A&E at Bedford Hospital, the same hospital where Tasha gave birth, after an optician at Specsavers in nearby Biggleswade discovered a mass behind his left eye.
“I was given blood tests, a CT scan and an MRI scan, which revealed an aggressive brain tumour,” said Adam.
“Luckily, it was operable but they didn’t know the exact diagnosis until after my debulking surgery, which took place at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on 1 November.”
Grade 4 tumour
The operation went well but the biopsy results confirmed his tumour was a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
Only 25% of GBM patients survive more than one year and just 5% survive more than five years.
“My surgeon got most of the tumour but the chances are that it will return, maybe within three or four years rather than the 12 to 18 months we were first told. It gives us something to hold on to,” added Adam
Alfie has also given the parents something positive to focus on.
Alfie was born just two days before Adam began a six-week course of daily radiotherapy with concurrent chemotherapy.
He finishes radiotherapy this week and will then have a month’s break before starting a longer course of higher-dose chemotherapy.
Adam said: “Thanks to Alfie, we’re not getting much sleep and my treatment makes me tired too but he is good as gold during the day and we are completely besotted with him.
“I’m not able to work at the moment but the positive side of that is that I’m spending lots of quality time at home bonding with Alfie. I’m counting my blessings.”
Tasha added: “Alfie is doing really well; he weighs 10lbs now and seems to be thriving.
“Adam has been amazing throughout his treatment so far, even though he’s lost his hair and suffered with nausea.
“His liver function has been affected by the chemo, so that treatment has been paused for two weeks but otherwise, it’s gone as well as we could’ve hoped.”
The community where Adam and Tasha grew up in Central Bedfordshire has also got behind the young family.
They’ve been raising money through a GoFundMe page to help cover some of the costs associated with Adam’s diagnosis.
Meanwhile, Adam’s dad, Mark, is supporting Brain Tumour Research by taking part in the charity’s 10,000 Steps a Day in February challenge.
Mark, who lives wife his wife Wendy in nearby Shefford, said: “I doubt I would survive a half marathon or anything as strenuous as that, so taking on this daily walking challenge is my way of contributing to this great cause.
“Alfie is our second grandchild – a cousin to our other grandson, Luca – and we are overjoyed to welcome him into the family but of course, it is bitter-sweet, given what Adam and Tasha are going through.
“Wendy and I are so proud of Adam.”
Tasha’s mum, Carol White, will also be joining Mark by taking part in 10,000 Steps a Day in with her 14-year-old whippet, Riley.
She said: “I saw the challenge advertised on Facebook and knew straight away I wanted to get involved.
“Having read the dreadful statistics surrounding brain tumours and having found out about the severe lack of funding in this area of cancer research, I’m keen to do my bit.
“I’m reading lots of other heart-breaking stories about young people, in particular, affected by this awful disease, it’s shocking.
“Alfie is our first grandchild; my husband Chris and I are totally in love with him. Tasha and Adam are so grounded and have taken to parenthood brilliantly. Like Mark and Wendy, we’re extremely proud of them.”
Abacus Workplace Supplies, where Adam works, are also donating £1 from every box of 50 face masks and 500ml hand sanitiser sold to Brain Tumour Research, along with all proceeds from their toner recycling scheme.
More Brain Tumour support needed
Stats provided by Brain Tumour Research, show that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, year research is massively underfunded.
Historically, just 1% of national spending on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
“We were delighted to hear about the safe arrival of baby Alfie and send our huge congratulations to Adam and Tasha,” said Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research.
“To find out you have a brain tumour at any time is devastating but the timing of Adam’s diagnosis is particularly cruel. We wish Adam all the best for the rest of his treatment and hope he gets some positive results from his forthcoming MRI scan next month.
“We thank Mark and Carol sincerely for taking part in 10,000 Steps a Day in February and send them the very best of luck. We hope they’ll inspire others to get involved in a challenge which, last year, raised nearly £1m to help drive forward the pioneering research at our Centres of Excellence and bring us closer to a cure for brain tumours.”
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 ‘The Fight of My Life – Adam Dilley’, please go to GoFundMe.com