Lauren Papadopoulos Green

4 min read

Lauren Papadopoulos Green, a health company social media executive from Ashford, Surrey, was diagnosed with a schwannoma days after her 18th birthday in February 2013 after suddenly losing sensation in her right arm. She had been experiencing arm spasms, weight loss and fainting episodes for weeks previously. Lauren underwent surgery, after which she had to learn to walk and use her arms again, and was placed on surveillance scans. Sadly, in January 2023, the 28-year-old was informed her tumour had regrown.

Lauren tells her story …

I was 18 when I first learned I had a brain tumour. I was told I only had a few days to live and was rushed into hospital without having much time to think about it. It’s been completely different the second time around. I went to discuss the results of a scan, expecting my 10-year sign off, only to find out my tumour had regrown. It was all pretty traumatic. I’m 28 now and know I have to continue working and carry on as best I can, but having time to process what this could mean has been difficult.

“I’ve experienced some of my darkest days these past few months.”

My first diagnosis came three days after my 18th birthday in February 2013. For weeks my arms had been going into spasm and I’d even thrown a cup of tea across the room involuntarily. I’d also lost a lot of weight and had been experiencing fainting episodes but I was only 17 and thought I’d be fine. It wasn’t until my birthday, when I lost complete sensation in my right arm, that I became concerned. The feeling would come and go until, finally, three days later I decided I needed to go and get checked out.

I was living in Cyprus at the time so went to see my GP there who referred me for an MRI. I was in the scanner for about three hours because my body kept spasming, which made it difficult for the radiographer to obtain a clear image. It was that image, however, that revealed I had a brain tumour. I’d never been ill before or stepped foot in a hospital so to suddenly be put on lots of drugs, including steroids to control the swelling in my brain, was a lot to handle.

“I was told I needed surgery but given a 5% chance of survival and warned, even if I did survive, I could end up in a vegetative state.”

I returned to England to have the surgery, which took place in March 2013 at St George’s Hospital, Tooting. My limbs had been shutting down as a result of the tumour’s positioning and it had got so bad that my dad was having to carry me. Thankfully, everything that was visible of my low-grade schwannoma was removed and I noticed an improvement straight away. I was able to wave my arms as soon as I woke up, which I wasn’t able to beforehand.

“It took time to learn to use my limbs properly after so many weeks of not being able to, but I learned to walk again and was soon able to feed myself without chucking food everywhere.”

At first, I was being monitored with annual scans but these became less frequent and were eventually moved to intervals of five years. I had one in September 2022 and another in January 2023 to check the results. I went to discuss them, excited about being signed off after 10 years, only to be told my tumour had grown back. I’d had a few leg spasms over the years but, after being told it was nothing to worry about, didn’t think much of it. At a follow-up consultation in April, I was told my tumour had grown so little in the four months between my two latest scans, that it would not be necessary to scan again for another two years. However, as my spasms have been getting worse, I’m now trying to bring this forward.

In the meantime, I’ve created a TikTok channel to help raise awareness of brain tumours and signed up to the Brain Tumour Research charity’s Skip 10 Minutes a Day challenge. Creating my channel has allowed me to open up about my feelings post-diagnosis and helped me deal with it. Being someone in their 20s who doesn’t look like they have a disability, I wanted to use it to show the indiscriminate nature of this disease and highlight how it can affect anyone. After less than six months, I already have more than 2,100 followers. Overall, I’ve had a really positive response to my videos and I am proud to be part of such a supportive community.

“Having come to terms with my situation, I’m now in a place where I’d like to help others facing a similar or worse ordeal to me.”

I’ve always been a keen fundraiser and am really excited about the skipping challenge I’ll be doing in November. It’s definitely something that’s going to push me but I want to do it to test myself and to prove that I can do it, as well as to help galvanise my community to raise as much money for the charity as possible. I’m not particularly athletic and, while skipping doesn’t come naturally to me and physical challenges are getting tougher now my symptoms are escalating, I’m determined to finish it and am even trying to rope my boyfriend into signing up. Anyone wishing to donate can go to and anyone wanting to follow me on TikTok can do so at @LaurenPapaGreen.

Lauren Papadopoulos Green
October 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 just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease since records began in 2002.

Brain Tumour Research is determined to change this.

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