Yvonne Piddington

2 min read

Grandmother-of-two, Yvonne, from Hertford, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM) after being told her tiredness, confusion and headaches were symptoms of long COVID. Despite undergoing surgery followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Yvonne and her family understand their time together is limited. Her son, Andrew, is fundraising for and campaigning with Brain Tumour Research to help future patients.

Yvonne Piddington In Hope story


Here is Yvonne’s story, as told by her son, Andrew…

Since Mum’s brain tumour diagnosis, I’ve asked if she had any kind of warning sign before her diagnosis and she said ‘nothing’. For her, it began during Christmas 2023. Both my parents caught COVID at the same time and, sure enough, Dad recovered but Mum was still suffering with symptoms. She complained of being tired, had headaches, and she became confused.

Peter and Yvonne Piddington In Hope case study

By January 2024, Mum still wasn’t right. The doctor initially said it was long COVID.

My sister, Rachel, and I grew concerned it was something more. Mum’s confusion got worse, mixing up the past and present; she thought she was still in Downham, London, a place she lived two decades ago.

We got her in for an emergency GP appointment who ordered Mum a blood test. When the weekend came, Mum couldn’t get out of bed due to the pain in her head being unbearable. Her face had dropped on one side.

“Dad called an ambulance, and she was taken to Lister Hospital in Stevenage for a suspected stroke.”

After a CT and MRI scan we were told Mum had a tumour pushing on the frontal lobe of her brain.

She spent two weeks at The Lister whilst they reduced the swelling around her brain. Once that had been reduced, she was sent home as this had improved her cognition and, although she still wasn’t right, she was more herself than before.

Her case was referred to University College Hospital London (UCLH) where the consultant told us the tumour was a glioblastoma (GBM). They said it was so big she needed surgery to debulk it – without it she would be dead within months.

Mum was essentially told: “It’s terminal and going to kill you, but let’s delay it and give you the best quality of life in the meantime.”

We were shocked at everything that had happened so far and it was horrible to see my Mum so vulnerable. As a family, we wanted Mum to have the operation for a fighting chance at being with us for longer.

Mum had surgery at the beginning of February 2024 and was down for almost eight hours. I was worried I’d never see her again after the doctor explained the risks that came with the procedure including life-changing injuries and even death.

I’m extremely grateful to the surgeon at UCLH who told us they had managed to debulk the mass. Mum then had radiotherapy and chemotherapy to try and blast the remaining cancer.

“Mum’s latest scan at the end of May showed the brain cancer was stable. She’ll continue with chemotherapy, this time on a higher dose.”

We understand the harsh reality of Mum’s GBM diagnosis and have been warned that the average survival time is devastatingly short – just 12-18 months. Our hope as a family is that we get to spend another Christmas together.

In Hope story of Yvonne Piddington

Until this happened, I didn’t know anything about this disease. I think there tends to be a worry about other types of cancer whereas not much is known about brain cancer. It’s a horrible way to go.

Mum has been so brave during her battle so far and I felt inspired to sign up to run my first marathon (Royal Parks Half) which will takes place in October.

Andre Piddington is fundraising for Brain Tumour Research

She’s proud of me and knows it won’t help her, but hopefully will for others in the long run. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. We are already seeing the impact the disease is having on her mental capacity and her memories are getting muddled and that’s upsetting to witness.

When Mum was diagnosed, I immediately searched online for what that meant and I couldn’t believe the lack of funding that is invested into research the disease. It’s too late for Mum, but if I can use my family’s experience to help raise awareness to help future generations and advocate for change then I will do everything I can to do that.

Andrew Piddington

June 2024

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.

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

Together we will find a cure


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