A mother of two who believed her headaches and dizzy spells could be linked to the menopause later learned she had a devastating brain tumour.
Anna Binks, 43, from Little Weighton, East Yorkshire, was initially diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour 12 years ago.
But last year, after experiencing symptoms she initially thought were caused by hormonal changes, she found out the disease had progressed.
She said: "I was absolutely terrified and so was my husband, Phil. Phil’s biggest fear was that I would die in surgery. Mine was coming out of surgery a different person.
"A mother’s worst nightmare is for something to happen to her children. Her second worst nightmare is for something to happen to herself or their daddy and for them to experience sadness that a child never should experience."
Anna had an MRI scan in 2010 after blood tests revealed high prolactin levels. A suspected low-grade glioma was found, which doctors decided to monitor. Ten years later, she started suffering from headaches and dizzy spells.
She added: "I was struggling to learn things and take in information, and I was really fatigued. I thought it was because of hormones and perhaps I had become perimenopausal.
"The symptoms persisted, and I even had a fall. Some headaches left me vomiting and writhing around in agony."
Last June Anna had most of the tumour removed during surgery, followed by six weeks of radiotherapy. After chemotherapy in March this year, she had to retire from her job as an NHS business manager due to ill health.
Now her seven-year-old son Jacob is taking on a football fundraiser to raise awareness of the disease in the hope more research can be carried out to help those diagnosed.
He will join other football fans putting his skills to the test as part of the One Million Keepy Uppy Challenge, raising money for Brain Tumour Research.
The charity is encouraging people to complete "keepy-uppies" towards a one million target, symbolising the £1m it costs to fund a research centre for a year.
Anna, who is also mum to nine-year-old Esme, said: "The impact of the diagnosis on the children is huge. Jacob has been terrified to leave me to go to school in case I died while he was there, and Esme still goes to bed most nights with a sick bucket and tummy ache from anxiety."
Jacob is doing the challenge with his teammates at South Cave Under 8s Blacks after the manager, Chris Eyre, found out about Anna’s diagnosis.
Chris said: "I feel really proud that all of the boys are doing this and they’re being backed by the parents. Liverpool Football Club sent us a signed photo from all of the players; the boys were absolutely buzzing when they saw that.
"We’ve also received messages of support from Chelsea Football Club and the Hull City goalkeeper Nathan Baxter."
Anna said she is "so pleased" her son and his teammates are doing it and feels "really proud" of all of them.
She added: "I keep hope that something will be discovered and I can live to be an old lady sat in my rocking chair next to my husband, and we would be proud of the good adults my children turned out to be while admiring our grandchildren. I want to leave a legacy of love, so as long as I’m with my three, I’m happy."
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