Dad suffering from headaches diagnosed with deadly cancer that killed mum year before

Alex Lyon, 32, was diagnosed with glioblastoma in January after he started vomiting when he woke up in the mornings – leaving his family devastated

Alex and Gemma at family wedding with their girls
Alex and Gemma at family wedding with their girls

A dad who suffered headaches for years has been told he has the same form of brain tumour that killed his mum just 18 months ago.

Alex Lyon, 32, was diagnosed with glioblastoma in January – leaving his wife Gemma, 36, devastated.

His mum, Sandra, died with the same cancer type last year.

Alex and Gemma – who have two daughters – had initially put his headaches down to stress, reports LeicestershireLive.

But other symptoms soon presented themselves and the gym manager started suffering confusion.

Gemma, a recruitment agency manager, said: “We put the headaches down to stress as Alex was juggling working from home with home schooling the girls.

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Alex had suffered headaches for years


Gemma Lyon/The Brain Tumour Charity)

“Then he started vomiting when he woke up in the mornings. He went to the GP and the optician, which didn’t reveal any problems.”

On January 27 this year, Alex was at home but not answering Gemma’s calls and messages.

Gemma said: “Instinct told me something was very wrong. I popped home from work and as I pulled up on the driveway, I could see him fast asleep on the sofa.

“He was hard to wake up and confused.”

Gemma drove Alex, from Whetstone, to Leicester Royal Infirmary where scans revealed the brain tumour, which was about the size of a lime.

A week later, he had a five-and-half-hour operation at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham to remove a large amount of the growth.

Alex with Florence as a baby and Bella


Gemma Lyon/The Brain Tumour Charity)

But further tests concluded he had a grade four tumour, which gives an average life expectancy of just 12 to 18 months.

Recently Alex, who is a Leicester City fan, has been undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

The tumour changed him and now Gemma and the two girls, Bella, 14, and Florence, five, have had to get used to those devastating affects of the illness.

Gemma said: “Alex came home from hospital a different person and no one prepares you for that.

“We take it one day at a time and I can’t allow myself to look too far into the future.

“Alex is here now and I’m so proud of him – that’s what we focus on. My love for Alex and our girls gets me through.”

Bella (left) and Florence (right) bought Alex a Leicester City FC shirt for Father’s Day


Gemma Lyon/The Brain Tumour Charity)

Now Alex’s family are urging people to support a trial involving a new cannabis-based drug that may buy people like Alex extra time with their families.

The Sativex trial, taking place at 15 hospitals around the country, is funded by The Brain Tumour Charity, which urgently needs more money to continue the trial.

Gemma said: “We are 100 per cent behind The Brain Tumour Charity fundraising for this vital research – at last, there is at least a glimmer of hope for people living with the devastating prognosis of a glioblastoma.

“When Alex was diagnosed, we felt heartbroken, devastated and sad.

“We are passionate about our fundraising and sharing our story is so important to help raise awareness as we are driven to help make a difference for everyone diagnosed with this cruel disease.

“The only way to one day find better treatments and, ultimately, a cure is through research and we urge people to support this fundraising if they can.”

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Sativex is already used in treating multiple sclerosis and in early trials it has already been found to have the potential to extend survival – in combination with chemotherapy – in patients with glioblastomas.

Dr David Jenkinson of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “We hope this trial could pave the way for a long-awaited new lifeline that could help offer glioblastoma patients precious extra months to live and make memories with their loved ones.

“With so few treatments available and average survival still so heartbreakingly short, thousands affected by a glioblastoma in the UK each year are in urgent need of new options and new hope.”

Anyone affected by a glioblastoma can call the charity on 0808 800 0004 or email [email protected]

To donate to support the research click here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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