Brain tumour brings father down

Susan, Steven, Cameron and Lachlan O’Toole at Tweed Hospital.
Susan, Steven, Cameron and Lachlan O’Toole at Tweed Hospital. John Gass

STEVEN O'Toole is a big cuddly "teddy bear."

"He has the biggest heart and is a wonderful husband and father," Steven's wife, Susan said.

But the giant of a man who moved his life and family to the Tweed for a better life is losing his battle for life due to an extremely rare brain tumour.

Diagnosed with a clival chordoma more than three years ago, Mr O'Toole will have to say goodbye to Susan and his two sons aged 12 and 13 years. The size and position of the tumour makes it inoperable.

It was discovered when he fell down steps and started getting vision problems. "He was devastated when he heard," Mrs O'Toole said.

"His first reaction was to ask: 'Why me?' He is the youngest of six kids and has always been seen as the baby of the family. He's no Einstein, just a great big, gentle giant with a soft heart. It's so sad."

Mr O'Toole was always active and played football.

He came to Tweed Heads to start a new job and fell in love with the region.

"You never know what's round the corner," Mrs O'Toole said.

"He's suffering and at times he tells me he has had enough. But he's a 'no frills' kind of man. Even so, it breaks my heart that he is facing his demise. He's looking forward to the AFL footy grand final on October 1. I hope he makes it."

Mr O'Toole has a great sense of humour, despite his pain. He's very proud of his wife and sons Cameron and Lachlan. "I want them to make the most of their lives," he said. "Life goes too quickly to waste it."

When asked if there was one thing he would really like to do, Mr O'Toole raised a smile. "I'd love to go to the pub and have a beer," he said.

Topics:  brain tumour family tweed

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