Fit and active 23-year-old had 4 operations in 6 weeks after brain tumour diagnosis

·4-min read
Kieran and Abbie <i>(Image: Abbie Henstock)</i>
Kieran and Abbie (Image: Abbie Henstock)

A FIT and active 23-year-old from Callands has been diagnosed with a high-grade cancerous brain tumour after suffering from headaches.

Kieran Shingler, who has previously competed in a number of triathlons, knew something was wrong when his severe headaches were stopping him from working and training.

After almost two weeks of head pain around Bonfire Night last year, Kieran was told by his doctor to attend Warrington Hospital’s A&E.

Here, the HGV driver underwent a CT scan which led to him being rushed to The Walton Centre in Liverpool by ambulance.

At The Walton Centre, Kieran, a former Great Sankey High School pupil, had an MRI scan and underwent keyhole surgery to alleviate the build-up of fluid in his brain and to also get a biopsy of the tumour.

He was discharged from hospital on November 25. But two weeks later, a further MRI highlighted significant growth of the tumour, so Kieran was readmitted for further surgery.

This time, it was open surgery to carry out a craniotomy and debulking of the tumour.

Warrington Guardian: Kieran has previously competed in various triathlons
Warrington Guardian: Kieran has previously competed in various triathlons

Kieran has previously competed in various triathlons (Image: Horwich Triathlon)

Speaking to the Warrington Guardian, Kieran’s partner of nine years Abbie Henstock said: “After surgery, he suffered short-term memory loss.

"They did tell us that was to be expected and we noticed it when Kieran couldn’t remember what he had for breakfast or lunch.

“The World Cup was on at the time and he is a massive fan of football but he couldn’t really remember the scores or who was playing.”

On December 21, Kieran was sent home for Christmas. But just two days later he was readmitted as the headaches and vomiting started again. This was because his initial operation to remove excess brain fluid had failed.

So on Christmas Eve, Abbie and Kieran’s mum, Lisa, slept over with him at The Walton Centre before he underwent another operation on Christmas Day to fit an internal drain from his brain into an external drainage bag.

This was later replaced with a permanent shunt in his skull on December 29.

In total, he had four operations in just six weeks.

Just before going into surgery on December 29, Kieran and his family were told the devastating news that he had a high-grade cancerous brain tumour.

“I get emotional thinking about it,” said Abbie, 24.

“It was just horrible.

“But then what choice did we have but accept it and deal with it?

“Now we take each day as it comes.”

After receiving his diagnosis, Kieran’s treatment started quickly in January and he finished six weeks of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the end of February.

He is due to start a further six months of high-dose chemotherapy in the next couple of weeks.

Warrington Guardian: Kieran with his mum and partner Abbie
Warrington Guardian: Kieran with his mum and partner Abbie

Kieran with his mum and partner Abbie (Image: Abbie Henstock)

Abbie said: “He is on so many tablets a day but he is doing so amazing with it all.

“He is just taking it all in his stride and he is still smiling as well – which is just Kieran for you.

“Before his diagnosis, he used to come off an eight-hour shift as a drayman and then get out on his bike and go for a run or a swim for at least two hours a day.

“He was always doing something which usually involved sport.”

Kieran’s family and friends are on a mission to raise awareness of brain tumours and to fundraise for his treatment as well as a number of charities.

Over the next few months, Kieran’s loved ones will be taking part in a number of fundraising activities, including Race for Life Pretty Muddy at Victoria Park, a 100k bike ride and a skydive.

Talking about the support Kieran has received so far, Abbie said: “He was just very overwhelmed and emotional with it all – but just so grateful as well.”

Over £700m is spent on cancer research in the UK every year, yet less than 3 per cent is spent on brain tumours which kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

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