Archie Siddall, 24, from Eckington in Derbyshire, started becoming forgetful in September 2022. His GP said it was because of stress but then Archie started getting severe headaches. After going to Accident and Emergency he was told he had a migraine but a second visit, which included a CT scan, revealed he had a glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumour. Part of the tumour was removed during surgery, and Archie completed six weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in January; he is now on six cycles of tablet-form chemotherapy. Archie’s mum, Anne Siddall, is taking on the Jog 26.2 Miles in May Challenge to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.
Anne tells Archie’s story…
In September 2022, my husband Craig and I noticed Archie was having problems with his memory. When they worked together, Craig would ask Archie to fetch something from his van, but he would return empty-handed because he couldn’t remember what he’d been asked.
“Archie would ask me what was for tea, then two minutes later he would ask me again. It was like living with someone with Alzheimer’s.”
Archie is only 24 and we thought this just wasn’t right so he went to the GP but he just said the problems he was experiencing were stress related. In the following weeks, Archie didn’t improve and he started getting headaches. They progressively got worse to the point where he couldn’t go to work.
“Craig and I took Archie to Accident and Emergency at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. The doctors ran various tests before telling us he only had a migraine, but I just felt something more sinister was going on.”
Archie became extremely lethargic and he just wanted to sleep all the time. He started to become confused and he was aggressive at times.
Craig took Archie back to Accident and Emergency and managed to get a CT scan. It showed there was a large mass on his brain which was a brain tumour.
Craig and I lost our 15-year-old daughter Madeline from sudden cardiac death 11 years ago, so it’s unbearable to think of losing another child. If I think about it too much, I go to a very dark place.”
Archie was blue-lighted to Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. They put him on steroids which made him feel a lot better.
On 14 October 2022, Archie underwent surgery to remove the tumour. They managed to remove around 50% of it. They couldn’t take any more because it was so deep on his brain stem. Afterwards, we were told the tumour was a glioblastoma (GBM), which is the worst type you can get. I can’t believe he had this thing in his head and it took so long to find.
“We were told the tumour was incurable. We haven’t asked for a prognosis; we just didn’t want to go there.”
During this time, my mum was on end-of-life care before dying of cancer on 29 October, and both of Craig’s parents died in December. It was like being in the sea and being hit by a huge wave that knocks you over. You get up, but another wave comes and knocks you down again.
Archie had six weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy at Weston Park Cancer Centre in Sheffield. The radiotherapy caused his hair to fall out but otherwise he wasn’t affected by the treatment. That ended in January; he is now on six cycles of tablet-form chemotherapy.
We’re trying to make memories with Archie and his little girl Amelia who is only a year old but Archie suffers from short-term memory loss so he struggles to remember what we’ve done. Other than that, we’re just taking each day as it comes but it’s not easy.
I’m taking on the Jog 26.2 Miles in May Challenge to raise money for Brain Tumour Research. Brain tumours 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. If the government funded this properly, we wouldn’t be in this situation. This challenge gives me a focus and if I can raise money to help fund research, it’s worth it. I’ve been humbled by how generous people have been and the kindness of all those who have helped my family or came to visit Archie when he was in hospital, it’s heart-warming.
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.
Brain Tumour Research is determined to change this.
Together we will find a cure