A South Tyneside man with an incurable brain tumour is planning his wedding after successfully trialling an experimental treatment.
Steve Richards, from South Shields, was given the devastating diagnosis in 2014 after experiencing vacant seizures, and was told that the condition was incurable
He underwent surgery and was offered the chance to take part in a clinical trial, during which he was given additional chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy.
Steve said: “When I found out I had a brain tumour I was in shock at first, but I knew I would fight it any which way I could so when I was offered a place on a clinical trial I jumped at the chance.
“Given my love for Newcastle United I knew when the clinical trial unit was named after Sir Bobby Robson that it would be a good omen.
“The treatments I received weren't easy to handle, especially the chemotherapy, but I tried to remain positive and strong every day and keep focusing on the fact that it could potentially help not only me but others as well.
"To hear the treatment I received will now be offered to other sufferers as well is amazing.”
Steve’s fiancée, Steph Clark, said: “When we were told we were in a state of shock and scared about what it all meant.
"Steve was fit and healthy and to be told that he had an incurable brain tumour was devastating.”
The treatment had not previously used routinely for his type of tumour - an anaplastic glioma - but Steve had nothing to lose.
Steph said: “Steve immediately said ‘yes’, figuring that even if it didn't help him it would maybe help someone else at some point.”
He started the treatment in late 2014 and recent results have showed that his tumour has shown no signs of re-growth.
Steph said: “Hearing that the tumour had no signs of growth was amazing news.
“I've no doubt that Steve's positive outlook on life helped.
"He admittedly can’t do some of the things he used to, like play football four or five times a week, so instead he now writes for footballing fanzines as it’s something he can do a bit at a time.
"We enjoy going for walks, eating out and are planning our wedding.
“When we were met with the diagnosis of Steve's brain tumour and told it could never be cured, life felt like it would never be the same again.
"But we have embraced the new normal and are loving and appreciating every day.”
The treatment plan he undertook will now be offered to others who have the same type of tumour.
Throughout the ordeal Steph and Steve found The Brain Tumour Charity’s Facebook support pages helpful.
“I would highly recommend it to anyone going through the same thing," Steph said.
"If I post about Steve’s treatment or progress, we are always inundated with messages of support and Steve finds it a great comfort to know that so many people whom he hasn't even met are rooting for him.”
Sarah Lindsell, The Brain Tumour Charity’s CEO, said: “We are delighted to hear about the success of Steve’s treatment and wish him and Steph the very best for their wedding.
“Clinical trials are a vital step in making sure that new treatments reach patients.
"Only 3% of brain tumour patients are currently enrolled in clinical trials, compared to 7.5% of all cancer patients,
“This is something we are addressing by working towards a target of 70% of patients living with a tumour contributing to some form of research by 2020.”