Stuff that matters

A family have told how a dad was struggling to speak and sounded “drunk” during a video call so they encouraged him to go to a hospital where it was found he had an incurable brain tumour.

Keith Jackson, 54, from Rochdale, died just months after going to see doctors following the video chat with members of his family, reports the Manchester Evening News.

He was in Portugal building a home for him and his partner, for when they retired, when he had the video call where it became clear something was wrong.

Mr Jackson went to doctors in the country, who diagnosed him with a a glioblastoma brain tumour and urged him to return home.

Then at the Salford Royal Hospital it was revealed he had a lesion on his brain.

After suffering an infection, his radiotherapy was delayed and then when it started it proved so gruelling that he decided to stop. He died in February 2020 – just three months after being diagnosed in Portugal.

Now, his daughter Lianne, 26, is preparing to run three marathons back-to-back to raise money for cancer research and people can donate here.

Speaking of the moment she realised something was wrong with her father, she said: “Our family live across the country so we regularly video called, and on one call, it was as if Dad was drunk.

“When he spoke, it sounded like nonsense, and he would often start a new sentence without finishing the last one. He’d also make stuff up which we knew hadn’t happened as if he was overexcited.

“I had missed calls from my brother, Luke, when we finally spoke on the phone, he told me that dad was in hospital with a brain tumour. This was the first I had heard of dad going to hospital, let alone having a tumour.

“I had so many questions I didn’t know what to do with myself.”

Lianne said things had become so bad with her father that he didn’t even recognise his home when he had returned to the UK and became so ill after radiotherapy that he did not want to continue with the treatment.

“Dad encouraged me and Luke to live our lives to the fullest and didn’t want us to see him ill,” she said. “He had a few sessions of radiotherapy which made him very sick, and he decided to stop any further treatment, and eventually became bedridden and stopped eating.

“When I visited him in February, I sat next to him, talking, and reading. As I got up to leave, I leant over to give him a kiss on the cheek and felt him grab my hand and as he said ‘I love you’, I knew that would be the last time I’d see my dad.”

In memory of her father, Lianne, a marine science project manager from Plymouth, is now preparing to take on three marathons in as many days as part of the Atlantic Coastal Challenge. This will see the amateur runner take on 78.6miles of undulating coastal trails with the support of Luke as well as her partner and uncle.

“He always wanted to donate his body to science however because of the treatment he received from the brain tumour and a previous diagnosis of lymphoma, he couldn’t. Raising money for Brain Tumour Research is my way of honouring him through something I know he would have supported,” she said.

Brain tumours kill more men under 70 than prostate cancer, yet historically just 1% of the amount spent on cancer research in the UK has been allocated to brain tumours.

Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, reportedly said: “Stories such as Keith’s are devastating and highlight the lack of treatment options for patients diagnosed with brain tumours. We’re grateful to Lianne for sharing her dad’s story with us and wish her all the best as she takes on an incredibly tough challenge to help raise awareness of this horrific disease.”