Faced with the devastating news that her husband could have just months to live, Emma Howard refused to give up and is instead trying to raise £50,000 for treatment abroad.
Electrician Robert, 33, was diagnosed with brain cancer - Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage 4 - last September after suffering from severe headaches.
Although chemotherapy at Rosemere Cancer Centre has shrunk the tumour slightly, he will still need to fund specialist therapy in Germany - or even Istanbul - which could cost £50,000.
Emma, 29, from Leyland, said: “The day when the surgeon diagnosed my husband with brain cancer is still etched in my memory.
“Numerous doctors specialists, consultants said the prognosis wasn’t good and gave him a life line of 12-18 months to live, and we should make as many memories as we can.”
Robert, 33, had been suffering from strong headaches for almost 12 months but one day he suddenly took a turn for the worse.
Emma said: “One day Robert fell ill: his co-ordination went, his face went grey and very clammy and he began to be sick.
“He could still hear everything but just felt like he needed to sleep. He was admitted to Royal Preston Hospital, presuming he was having a stroke.
“After a CT scan, doctors said there was an abrasion (like tissue damage). Robert stayed on the neurology ward and in the early hours of the morning he had a seizure but had come round himself. Then he was back to himself.”
Feeling much more positive, Robert and Emma, who have been married since 2015, had to wait a few more days for the results and were shocked to discover the devastating truth.
Emma says: “All the time we presumed it was going to be a bleed on the brain or Robert had knocked his head at work.
“But we were told ‘I’m afraid it’s a very large tumour, it looks like it could be a high grade, we need to operate tomorrow.’
“The operation would take three to four hours and they couldn’t take it all out because some parts are near an artery and if they touched it, his personality may change. He could be incontinent or even disabled.
“He was allowed home for a short while, and the next day Rob had the operation, which took eight hours altogether. Surgeons had managed to take out 60 per cent of the tumour, which meant when recovered he would still have to go through treatment.
“Robert spent his 33rd birthday in hospital and on that day he was determined to get up and walk, which he did.
“He doesn’t really remember a lot as he was dosed up on medication. But we brought a cake in, cards, and sang Happy Birthday to him.
“The medication to relax him was making him hallucinate a lot more, which then made him panic. He was too scared to go to sleep, as he kept thinking he was in there to die.
“After five days, he was allowed home. He didn’t want to be on his own, his confidence hit rock bottom but after a lot of rest, Robert was getting back to his normal self.”
Robert, who had to give up work as an electrician, has now undergone six weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy at Rosemere Cancer Centre and a recent scan showed the tumour has shrunk a little.
Emma adds: “Doctors said the tumour would not shrink and it has, so it has given us a bit of optimism, so we are buzzing at the moment.
“Robert will carry on with his chemotherapy, which he has every first week of the month and he will have scans every three months.
“But after that, there is nothing else that can be done, which is why we will look at going to either Germany or Istanbul, but it is very expensive. We
have set a target of £50,000 but expect it to be more.” Fund-raising To aid with fund-raising, family and friends have organised a series of events. Friends Ashley Fox and James Dyer will compete in a white collar boxing event at Preston Guild Hall on April 7; Emma and family members will take part in a relay race at the Manchester Marathon the day after; a race night will take place at Leyland and Farington Social Club on April 27; Alex Wadsworth and his friends will tackle the Three Peaks, cycling in between the mountains and August 4 will see a host of Robert’s friends take on Total Warrior. Emma is also in the process of organising a charity ball. Emma adds: “We are very lucky to have the support of our family and friends. We’ve been staying at his aunt and uncle’s house in Much Hoole since September, as we had been doing our house up when Robert fell in. Our friends are currently doing the house up for us to get us back home. We should be home by end of the month. But Robert has had to give up work so we now only have my wages and his benefits.” To make a donation go to Emma’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/teamrob