A "giant" brain tumour shattered Richard Taylor's family and dreams of a new job, but a Hillingdon charity provided much-needed solace for him and his family.
The now full-time development manager, who was diagnosed with a large Acoustic Neuroma in 2011, hopes the group will raise awareness and importance of early diagnosis.
He said: “I found out about my tumour just by a random hearing test. Rather than just giving me a hearing aid they sent me off for an MRI and I found out I had a giant tumour.
“The doctor said if I hadn't had that, with the speed it was growing at, I would have been dead within 18-months.”
He received treatment at Charing Cross hospital and was told by a doctor that his tumour "was the biggest one he'd seen for 20 years", at 6.5cm.
Mr Taylor was just 38, and had started a new career as a driving instructor, when he had a 14-hour long operation to save his life.
The Hillingdon Brain Tumour group has seen him and his family talking more about what he went through.
He added: “It gives me the opportunity to vent my feelings as I've never had that opportunity before. Some things I'd try and keep from my wife but there's some things that you need to get out. I've had four years of not being able to say that and now I can.”
Jacquie sought help online as they received no after-care nor were told of any support groups.
She said: “When my husband was sent home from hospital he'd often fall on the floor or down the stairs and no one came round to keep an eye on him. For some reason this group came up on the internet."
The couple say meeting people going through similar things has helped them come to terms with the effects having a brain tumour can have on a family.
She added: "It's nice to talk to other wives or parents. You can tell your own family but they don't know what it's like.
“I would never stop coming to the group. We've only been coming here for seven weeks but it feels like we've known everyone forever.”
The inspirational support group, which hosts guest speakers including counsellors, acupuncturists and neuropsychologists, was founded by Becky Haggar, Hillingdon ward councillor for Eastcote and East Ruislip.
She hopes to raise enough money to open a walk-in 'Centre of Hope' to help children and adults and give advice on benefits, have coffee and tea mornings and drop-in sessions.
Mrs Haggar set up the group after her husband, Cyril, had a brain tumour removed after repeat misdiagnosis.
She said: "I started the group straight after Cyril's operation. I felt so desperate, so upset and just needed someone to talk to. I thought: 'It can't just be me! There's got to be many people going through what we are'.
"Benign tumours still kill, but chemotherapy doesn't work on them and you can't access support from cancer charities."
Hillingdon Brain Tumour Group meet twice a month, every second Thursday 1pm-3pm and every last Saturday of the month 12noon-2pm at Hillingdon Baptist Church.
The group is hosting an Awareness Day on July 3 at Uxbridge Civic Centre from 9.30am-1.30pm. To apply for a place, email firstname.lastname@example.org.