Dan's story - I was told I would never walk again

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Maggie's Newcastle

I was determined to get stronger against the odds, and Maggie's has helped me achieve that.

I run exercise sessions for other people with cancer.

I was 19 when I was diagnosed with a grade 4 brain tumour.  

I was admitted to hospital on Christmas Day following an unexpected seizure. I was then told I’d need three major operations. The doctors prepared me for the worst. 

The surgery and radiotherapy were gruelling, but I received some amazing news. My doctors couldn’t find any signs of the tumour. I was due to have chemotherapy but it turned out that I didn’t need to have any. However, the aggressive treatments I’d had to have had really taken their toll and I lost the use of my right side. The doctors said it was unlikely I’d walk properly ever again but I was determined to get stronger against the odds.   

Luckily, I had a lot of physio and even more help from my family. My Auntie took me for walks even when I didn’t feel like it. I had an exercise bike in my house, so I used to wake up early every day and spend at least 20 minutes on that. I also set little obstacle courses in the house to test myself.  

It’s been over seven years since I was diagnosed and even though I became a personal trainer after cancer, I still haven’t got full mobility. However, I live unsupported and do everything on my own.  

It’s been a long journey but I’m now back on my feet. I run my own personal training business and even completed the Great North Run for Maggie’s in 2016, where I walked over 13 miles. 

I first came into Maggie’s for financial advice and then heard about the mindfulness course so thought I’d give that a try, too. The mindfulness really helped me come to terms with cancer.  

Maggie’s is a great place to meet people in the same situation who understand what you’re going through. 

When Karen, the Centre Head, realised I was a personal trainer she asked me to run the centre’s weekly exercise sessions. I was delighted to help out and have now been running the sessions for 4 years. I absolutely love it.  

Dan is a lovely young man and a real inspiration to all who comes into contact with him. (Karen Verrill, Centre Head) 

Whenever a new person joins the sessions, I always tell them that I’ve had cancer. I find that it makes a big difference. They feel more comfortable with me because I’ve been through what they are going through. I also know that each person is different and cancer affects them in different ways. They have been through so much and they have to be careful about how far they push themselves so I always tell them to listen to their body.

Here with you

If you, your family or friends need support during this time, please call us on 0300 123 180, email enquiries@maggies.org or book a time to visit us.

If you're already visiting the hospital, just come in.

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