A young man who had a brain tumour the size of a golf ball and defied a virtual death sentence is looking ahead to a bright future.
Steven Brown, 26, was told last summer by doctors that nothing could be done when scans showed a recurring, aggressive tumour in the middle of his brain, called a pineal germinoma, and that treatment had been ineffective.
The Brown family refused to accept this, however, and their tireless research led them to the Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles, and surgeon Dr Hrayr Shahihan.
Following a pioneering operation to remove the growth last December, Steven is now on the road to recovery and slowly getting stronger again.
Speaking to the Uxbridge Gazette, Steven said: “The last scan I had showed that it had shrunk, so that is a good sign.
“I feel a lot better than I did. I still have problems with my eyes, blurriness and double vision, and I have weakness down my left side, but I am going to physiotherapy and working at it. I would like to get back into work, but I first need to become more mobile.
“This time last year, I was on my deathbed. The doctors here told me that nobody would be able to remove it and I should just wait, get comfortable and make a will.
“That was a lot to take in, but I’m still here. In short, I am a modern-day hero, and an idol for young people everywhere,” he joked.
The former scaffolder is also saving up for the trip of a lifetime to Las Vegas with his friends in 2015.
The family, who live in Coronation Road, Hayes, are still in touch with Dr Shahihan, and hope to be able to hold him to his promise to take them out for a fish and chip dinner on a return visit to the United States.
Steven’s father, Paul, said: “There is still a long way to go, but things are looking good. Everything is a bonus from now on, and he’s no longer looking at a death sentence.
“We have all gone through so much heartache, and now I think we are due some good luck.”
Mum Suzanne added: “This time last year was just terrible, and I don’t know how Steven, or the rest of us, found the strength to get through it.
“I never thought for one second that that was it or we were wasting our time. It’s a good thing we didn’t give up, because Steven wouldn’t be with us if we had.”
Steven’s friends have recently done sponsored skydives to raise money for the family.
“They have been very supportive, and stood by him all the way, “ said Mrs Brown.
“Now, they come round and get him to go out for a pint. They couldn’t wait to have their mate back.”
? Steven’s Fighting Fund is still accepting donations to help with the cost of treatment.
Go to stevensfightingfund.co.uk, or email email@example.com.