Man from Cornwall finds love on brain tumour ward

Couple who bonded over shared brain tumour experience
Clara and Tom went through brain tumour treatment together and fell in love Credit: BPM Media

They live 350 miles apart but fell in love after they bonded over their shared experience on the brain tumour ward.

Tom Vinnicombe, from Falmouth in Cornwall, met Clara Darcy in the most unlikely of places – The Christie, a world-renowned hospital in Manchester, where they were both having pioneering treatment.

As they opened up to each other about the emotional impact of living with a brain tumour, friendship blossomed into love.

They take it in turns to make the 700-mile round trip every four to six weeks to see each other and are planning a future together.

Tom Vinnicombe was diagnosed with a brain tumour in September 2011 Credit: BMP Media

“Right from the start, our relationship was simple and relaxed – it felt right”, said Tom.

“We keep each other’s spirits up when the other is having down days. I love how cheerful Clara is, she always looks for the positive and is never down for long.

"It was such a random place to meet someone in hard circumstances, but I feel so lucky we found each other.”

Tom had pioneering proton beam therapy at The Christie in Manchester in October 2019 Credit: BPM Media

Tom, a 34-year-old marine engineer, was the first person from Cornwall to have proton beam therapy on the NHS in the UK.

Clara, who is an actor, has co-written a play about her tumour.

She said “Tom’s the only other person who gets first-hand the fear, anger and trepidation that comes with living with a brain tumour.

"It’s wonderful that something so positive has come out of our ordeals. I never dreamt having cancer would lead me to the man of my dreams."

Tom and Clara are planning a future together Credit: BMP Media

Now the couple are sharing their story to help The Brain Tumour Charity raise awareness about brain tumours – the biggest cancer killer of children and under-40s in the UK.

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