Mindful of others' suffering

LIVING with a brain tumour isn't easy.

Peter McLaughlin was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2001.

He says it was purely luck that it was even found.

“It was found quite coincidentally when I was sent for a medical as part of a job interview,” he said.

“In the eye test I had blurry vision and when they found no other cause I was sent for an emergency cat scan ... and that's when the brain tumour was found.”

Peter said at the time he had no other symptoms to indicate a tumour.

“But I went along to the neurosurgeon and was told it was inoperable as it was growing through my optic nerve,” he said.

“As you could imagine, I was devastated.”

But he didn't give up.

Peter spent some time in the UK and got a second opinion.

“They operated on me in London where they got as much of the tumour out as possible,” he said.

“And the latest scans now show that it hasn't grown in the last three years.”

But through all this Peter had no-one who truly understood what he was feeling.

“A support group would have made all the difference in my life when I was first diagnosed,” he said.

“There was nothing around and it was really terrible to go through and not have anyone who could relate to what I felt. My marriage fell apart and I was living each day with the knowledge that I didn't have long.

“It was a terrible time.”

And it was this lack of support for those diagnosed with brain tumours that has led Peter to form United Brain Tumour Support Group.

“I started the group five years ago with fellow sufferer Diane Moore but it kind of lost momentum after Diane passed away earlier this year,” he said

“But there's a great need for it among sufferers so I have re-started the group and we meet once a month.”

“The group is open to all sufferers and their families,” Peter said.

“We like to keep it positive and support one another so we have guest speakers and information available.”

Peter said the group would be fundraising for research and for hospital equipment specific to brain tumour patients.

“My long-term plan is to have a brain tumour retreat centre for sufferers and their families,” he said.

“And our main event will be the annual Dianne Moore Memorial Walk. This year's walk was held a few weeks ago and we raised $1400.”

But Peter said his main aim was to simply try and live a healthy lifestyle.

“It's really all I can do,” he said.

United Brain Tumour Support Group meet on the third Wednesday of the month at Tugun Surf Club from 10.30am.

Inquiries can be made to Peter on 0422 784 885.

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