Leeds Trinity University

06/18/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/18/2024 03:19

Runner Robyn to continue fundraising efforts after ‘miracle’ brain tumour survival

After attending what was expected to be a routine appointment at the opticians in April 2021, Robyn was immediately referred to St James's Hospital in Leeds after an abnormality was spotted during an eye test. Within four hours, Robyn had been sent for numerous tests and been seen by a range of specialist medical professionals before being diagnosed with a grade 4 brain tumour, with doctors telling her it was a miracle she was alive.

Robyn was then transferred to the neurology wing at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) by a blue light ambulance where an MRI scan revealed the tumour was non-cancerous, however it was still putting Robyn at risk of wider health complications due to its position within her brain.

"Based on the size of the tumour he saw in my results, the surgeon was amazed that I'd been to work, ran 10 kilometres, driven my car and walked my dog Alfred the day before," Robyn said. "He asked if my Mum, Dad and partner Ryan could come to the hospital so he could discuss what was going to happen, so I knew it was bad. He was going through the worst-case scenario, but to be honest, all I could think about was how much of my hair was going to be shaved off - that's all I kept asking and was bothered about. It hadn't sunk in what was happening."

Robyn was warned that the surgery could leave her with a wide range of effects, including the loss of movement on the left side of her face and up to a year of relearning how to walk and talk. However, her recovery was significantly quicker than that and she spent just one day each on the intensive care and high dependency units and was allowed to return home less than a week after the procedure. Although unable to walk more than five metres and highly dependent on others for support, Robyn, who had always enjoyed the mental health benefits running provided her with, had already turned her attention to that year's Leeds 10K.

"I had signed up for the race, which had already been deferred by a year due to the pandemic, and I was determined to do that - I'd paid an entry fee after all! I had the surgery in May, started using a treadmill four weeks later, completed my first outdoor training run in the August, and then ran the 10K in around 59 minutes in early September, which I was pretty pleased with."

Since then, Robyn's health has gone from strength to strength, and she is now only required to go for a check-up scan once a year. Alongside her partner Ryan, she has also continued to run and raise funds for Yorkshire's Brain Tumour Charity, who still provide her with support following her traumatic ordeal.

On 8 May 2022, one year and two days post-operation, she completed the Leeds Half Marathon, and has gone on to collect finishers' medals from the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon and York Marathon, both of which she ran in 2023. She plans to do at least one fundraising activity per year and has raised an impressive £3,500 overall so far. Next up for Robyn is the Leeds 10K, which she will complete as part of Leeds Trinity University's Corporate Challenge team on Sunday 23 June.

"I decided to take part in the Corporate Challenge as I like to prove to myself that I am still the same Robyn as I was before my operation," Robyn said. "I also want to keep raising awareness, as I went 29 years of my life not knowing I had this brain tumour, and doctors still can't explain why it happened or how long I may have had it for. I received an unbelievable amount of support from the team that dealt with my case at the LGI and once I was discharged, I was directed to the Yorkshire Brain Tumour Charity who helped me deal with the trauma, so it's important to me that I give something back."

Sheila King, Sports Development Officer at Leeds Trinity University, said: "Robyn's story is truly remarkable. Running a 10K is big challenge for most people, so to complete one just four months after having major surgery, especially in such a good time, really is a huge accomplishment. To back that up by doing half and full marathons in the years since says a lot about the strength of Robyn's character and determination.

"I am delighted that she will be a part of the Leeds Trinity's team at the Leeds 10K as she raises further funds for Yorkshire's Brain Tumour Charity. Robyn is inspirational and I'm sure her story will provide some of the less experienced runners in our group with confidence that they can complete the run, no matter how prepared they feel."

For more information on Yorkshire's Brain Tumour Charity, visit the website.