Billingham nurse's heartbreak after husband dies three months after brain tumour diagnosis

Sally Bellerby, a nurse, is doing the '10,000 steps a day in February' challenge on behalf of the charity Brain Tumour Research in memory of her husband, Mark. Credit: Brain Tumour Research

A nurse whose husband died of an aggressive brain tumour just three months after being diagnosed is paying tribute to him by taking part in a month-long challenge.

Mark Bellerby, 57, from Billingham, died this month, after being diagnosed with the a glioblastoma last year.

His funeral is due to take place on Wednesday 18 January.

His wife Sally, who nursed him at home, said: “It was horrendous. From the day of the diagnosis, Mark was so sad.

"I felt like I’d lost my husband. He became withdrawn and agitated, and he didn’t want anyone to see him. He was existing but he wasn’t living."

She is planning to take on a 10,000 steps a day challenge in memory of her husband and to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.

Mr Bellerby was told he had a glioblastoma (GBM) after collapsing in September 2022. A Glioblastoma is an aggressive, fast-growing brain tumour that occurs in the brain or spinal cord.

Mr Bellerby, father to Will, 24, and Jake, 29, was initially given medication for anxiety and depression in September 2022 following changes in his behaviour.

Mark Bellerby with his son Will. Credit: Brain Tumour Research

He forgot his computer passwords and did “silly things” like leaving taps running.

Eventually, Mark’s spatial awareness suffered, and he lost feeling down his left-hand side.

After he collapsed at home he was taken to University Hospital of North Tees where a scan revealed a GBM had been the cause of his symptoms.

Ms Bellerby, a nurse at Darlington Memorial Hospital, said: “Mark didn’t have an operation because the tumour was so deep in his right frontal lobe, and he was told that he was too weak to have any treatment.

“He kept apologising, saying he had ruined Christmas because he wouldn’t be able to cook the dinner.”

Ms Bellerby took sick leave from her job so she could nurse her husband in a bed installed in the family dining room until Mr Bellerby died at home on 4 January, with his wife and son by his side.

Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said: “We’re so sorry to learn that Mark died from a GBM so soon after his diagnosis.

"We’re really grateful to Sally for taking on the 10,000 Steps a Day in February challenge as it’s only with the support of people like her that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumours and improve the outcome for patients like Mark who are forced to fight this awful disease.”

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