A DETERMINED brother and sister from Northwich are calling for greater awareness of brain tumours after their beloved dad died from the condition just two months ago.

Siobhan Manton, 28, is putting her best foot forward to support The Brain Tumour Charity after her dad, John, died in February – two-and-a-half years after he was diagnosed with the aggressive form of brain tumour.

Siobhan, and a group of seven of her friends, will be walking a 26-mile marathon through London in September to raise much-needed funds for the charity.

This isn't the first fundraising event the family have undertaken, as Siobhan has previously completed a hike in the Lake District for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Meanwhile her brother, 25-year-old Callum, has already taken on the Three Peaks Challenge and a 10K fun run which was supported by John’s employer, Barclays Bank.

The family have so far raised an amazing £23,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity in memory of John, who was diagnosed in 2018.

Despite several rounds of gruelling treatment, he left behind his partner Yvonne, Siobhan and Callum when he was just 59-years-old.

In May 2018, John began having what became to be known as symptoms of a brain tumour – he could hear music playing in his head and began to slur his words.

The family thought that he was having a stroke but on the way to Northwich Infirmary, John had a seizure.

A CT scan and blood tests came back clear, so he was referred to a support clinic for people with epilepsy and given medication to control any further seizures.

After deciding to use the private healthcare John had through his work as an operations analyst for Barclays Bank, an MRI found a mass on his brain the size of a grape.

It was removed at The Walton Centre in Liverpool but tests revealed it was a glioblastoma, which is the most aggressive form of primary brain tumour.

John was told he had between six to 18 months to live.

Siobhan recalled: "We were so pleased with the results of surgery yet we had no idea about what was to come.

"The results appointment was a complete blur and we cried.

"But we also had to pull together as a family and we became stronger in order to try and fight this horrible disease.

"Dad always had a positive mindset and so he was determined to fight the tumour.

"We would all be feeling sorry for ourselves and worrying about what time we had left with him but dad would just say 'these are the cards I’ve been dealt and I’ve got to carry on with what’s been given to me'.

"He never once complained about anything – he just carried on with life and he absolutely played those cards."

John began courses of both radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

In October 2018, a scan showed that the treatment had been successful and for a year, they were all-clear.

Sadly, in October 2019, nodules were found around the original tumour site so John was given another course of chemotherapy.

A further scan in January 2020 revealed that the tumour had grown back so John continued with treatment.

Siobhan Manton with brother Callum and dad John before he died

Siobhan Manton with brother Callum and dad John before he died

In April 2020, during the height of the first lockdown and as John’s condition worsened, the family were told the sad news that the treatment hadn’t worked and that the tumour had grown.

An alternative chemotherapy drug was given but a further scan in July found that the tumour had grown again.

By this time, he was also dragging his foot when he walked, his face was increasingly swollen, he struggled to get words out and he was increasingly forgetful.

In October 2020, John’s condition began to deteriorate as he was struggling to walk and needed to use a wheelchair.

One month later, John’s consultant broke the awful news that the tumour was growing rapidly and he only had around two months to live.

Siobhan said: "Covid made it difficult for us all.

"Dad was shielding, getting his shopping delivered and we helped when we could.

"It was so hard not to see him but we knew that we were doing the right thing.

"We spent time in the garden and on walks which he loved when we could and we made lots of memories in the summer – just before he got really poorly.

"We had to be told on the phone how long dad had left to live.

"He had been so determined to not give up and prognosis was heartbreaking.

"Yet, he continued to remain positive, just as he always had."

John spent the start of this year at home but in February he was moved to St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice and died on February 12.

Siobhan said: "We knew it was coming – it was just a terrible case of when.

"He came home from the hospice for just a week and I spent an afternoon with him.

"He didn’t speak to me much but as I left he said 'love you' which were the last words he said to me.

"It was a painful time – I would wake up every day thinking 'is it going to be today?'

"I spent all of my time with him and every now and then when I spoke to him he would squeeze my hand.

"I am incredibly grateful for the amazing nurses who looked after dad.

"He was different on the day he died – we saw him at tea time and he died at 9.30pm.

"I fully believe that he chose to die when Callum and I had gone.

"Nothing can prepare you for that moment – you think you have prepared yourself for it but it’s impossible.

"Dad fought until the very end.

"It is still very raw for us at the moment and we miss dad every day.

"The memories I have of my dad are always happy ones.

"He was full of life, loved spending time with friends and family - his brain tumour diagnosis didn’t change this either."

Prior to John’s diagnosis, the family knew nothing about brain tumours or their potential severity.

They firmly believe that more awareness of, and more research into, the disease are desperately needed.

The family found out about The Brain Tumour Charity through John, who attended many of the organisation’s group support sessions.

So, Siobhan will be raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity and also MND Association after the family lost their stepdad, Keith, just five months before losing their dad.

Siobhan said: "I had read so much about other cancer types but nothing about brain tumours – that’s not OK and we need to raise their profile more.

"There are so many symptoms which can be missed – we were lucky that dad had a seizure, what if he hadn’t?

"So many people are diagnosed and die weeks later yet we were incredibly lucky to get two and a half years with dad.

"Maybe if there was more awareness then more people would be lucky too."