Mike Sadler

4 min read

Mike Sadler, 63, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, died from a glioblastoma (GBM) in November 2020, just five-and-a-half weeks after being diagnosed. The grandfather-of-five went to hospital after collapsing in the night at home. Mike’s condition quickly deteriorated, and he lost the ability to speak and move. He spent three days in St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland before he died on 27 November 2020. Mike’s son, Jonathan, 42, from Manchester, took part in the Walk of Hope in Stockport to raise money to fund more research into the disease.

 Jonathan tells his dad’s story…

Dad would do anything for his family. He worked hard his whole life, always making sure he did a good job, and that my mum, my sisters, his grandkids and I were looked after.

My sisters, Jayne and Jessica, and I have a long list of all the times he helped us out with different things. He would come and spend the whole weekend doing jobs with us, fixing things we didn’t know how to fix, helping us to renovate our houses. Then he’d drive home for two hours, and all for the curry we’d get while he was with us, and the satisfaction of knowing that he’d helped us out, yet again. Right up until the month before his diagnosis, he was up and down the motorway, making sure the latest list of jobs was being taken care of. 

 “Dad adored being with his grandchildren; there are now five, but he never got to meet his third granddaughter.”

In 2019, Mum thought there was something up with Dad, but neither could really articulate what it was. Dad started going to the GP surgery in the summer. He had regular blood tests over 12 months, but each time he was told he was fine and could go home.

During the Covid lockdown in 2020, we obviously couldn’t see each other but Mum kept saying that Dad wasn’t right. She said he would be kicking out while asleep all night, but when he woke in the morning, he had no idea what had happened.

“During the night on 18 October 2020, Dad collapsed while returning to bed after visiting the bathroom. In the morning, he couldn’t remember what had happened.”

 His GP sent him to A&E at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead where he had an MRI scan. A week later, a consultant at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle told Dad he had a glioblastoma (GBM).

“It was like being given a death sentence. The consultant pretty much wrote Dad off after five minutes, with an air of ‘what do you want me to do about it?’ It was a huge shock, and I was in absolute disbelief. The tumour had spread across the whole of Dad’s brain, and we were told there were no treatment options for him.”

After the appointment at the RVI, Dad, Mum and I went for lunch and had a few hours together on the Quayside in Newcastle. He was obviously not well but even then, he was still full of life, joking around with Mum, and telling us what a great afternoon he’d had. Lunch on him next time. That was the last time I saw my dad.

 From that day, 2 November 2020, my dad was kept in hospital. Unable to see him because of Covid we were at least able to keep in contact via phone.

 Dad had a biopsy on 9 November, on the slim chance of finding a treatable tumour. That wasn’t to be, and his condition deteriorated catastrophically from the next day, losing the ability to move and speak.

 Dad moved into St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland on 24 November; he died three days later on 27 November 2020.

“What happened to Dad was the cruellest thing that could have happened to him. It just doesn’t make any sense and I still can’t believe it.”

 He was still working but he was looking forward to retiring in a couple of years, but it was all taken away.

 On Saturday 30 September 2023, I joined others who have their own horrific brain tumour stories at the Walk of Hope at Woodbank Park in Stockport to raise vital funds to help find a cure for the disease. It also gave me the time to stop and remember my dad.

The walk was all about hope. I really hope we can get to a point very soon where we have the funding we need for brain tumours so more meaningful research can be carried out in the hope of providing more meaningful treatments, and one day preventing the devastation caused by brain tumours.

Jonathan Sadler
November 2023

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer... yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Brain Tumour Research is determined to change this.

If you have been touched by Mike’s story, you may like to make a donation via www.braintumourresearch.org/donation/donate-now or leave a gift in your will via www.braintumourresearch.org/legacy

Together we will find a cure.

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