A man who was diagnosed with brain cancer days after his 30th birthday hopes that making a daily video blog of his illness will help raise awareness of what he feels is ‘the worst health crisis’ in recent years.
As 2016 began, Phil James, a 3D artist from Tallarn Green near Malpas , was on top of the world when his girlfriend of nine months Nicola Love agreed to marry him on his 30th birthday in mid January.
He hadn’t had the easiest Christmas, after suffering an epileptic seizure in the early hours of Boxing Day, which was followed by doctors discovering a rare type of tumour in his brain, but he was told this was most likely benign, and in fact one doctor said he would ‘bet his life’ on Phil’s tumour being an operable grade 2.
But just two days later he learned his tumour was in fact the more serious grade 3 and that he would require radiotherapy treatment, leaving Phil shocked and determined to use his illness to educate more people about brain cancer, which he feels the Government is 'turning its back on'.
This is one of the reasons he has set up a daily video diary talking about his cancer journey, hoping others will relate to it and spread the word.
“My type of cancer is so rare that there have been no clinical trials in the UK for it which is a sign that not a lot is being done about this type of cancer,” Phil told The Chronicle.
“Brain cancer is the least funded type of cancer there is and it needs to change. In my opinion it’s the worst health crisis since AIDS. It’s brought back how people were told they had a death sentence before 1996,” he added.
“I’ll do anything to increase the awareness of how the government is turning its back on brain cancer which is one of the reasons I’ve started vlogging. We need more funding. There is so much research into breast cancer and the life expectancy of that has increased, the same should be done for brain cancer.”
Phil’s video diary was inspired by another cancer patient who recorded short clips of himself every day, and he hopes others will be able to relate to it.
“In each video I talk about my day in the hope anyone will relate to it and share it to raise awareness,” said Phil.
“I’m just trying to stay as positive as I can. Some people with brain tumours beat all the odds and live for 30 years - through a combination of very strong attitude and positivity, so that’s what I’m trying to do with my vlogs.
“I also find it helps with my anxiety too, which I’ve had for years. I want to help others with cancer but also those with anxiety. It’s a comfort to me when people share my vlog.
I am getting on with my life, I’m physically fit, I still do five press ups a day and even though I can’t drive for two years I’m now working from home. Nicola and I have also set a wedding date for April 2017 which has given me something else to focus on.”