Fareham workers to take on sponsored Wear a Hat day in support of military veteran colleague who is living with a brain tumour

A MILITARY veteran, who has been living with a brain tumour for years and has raised more than £12,000 to aid research into the disease, is set to be joined by his Fareham colleagues in a sponsored event.

Employees at internet provider Giganet, based in Whiteley, will take part in Brain Tumour Research’s Wear a Hat day on Friday (March 25) in the hopes of raising as much cash as possible in support of co-worker Steve Blake.

Father-of-two Steve, who lives in Bitterne, lives with a meningioma, the most common form of adult primary brain tumour and the same type of tumour his mum was diagnosed with.

The 40-year-old, who served in the British Army for 23 years and completed several tours of Afghanistan, has undergone surgery and radiotherapy since his diagnosis five years ago.

Becky and Steve Blake

While working at RAF Halton in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, he was suffering from frequent headaches and blurred vision. When his symptoms persisted, he saw a doctor, only to be told it was a sinus infection, and was prescribed decongestants and antibiotics.

Steve said: ‘The medication didn’t work and over many months I saw several different doctors who didn’t seem to know what was wrong with me.

‘Things came to a head in May 2017, when I finally had enough of the constant headaches.

‘I was referred for a scan and the next day a military doctor told me that there was something growing in my head that shouldn’t be there.’

The scan showing Steve's tumour

Although low-grade, due to the location of the tumour, there was a dangerous amount of fluid build-up on Steve’s brain. He had three surgeries and just days later he married his partner Becky.

Steve returned to work in January 2018 but normality was short-lived, when scan results in May that year showed some tumour growth and underwent a three-day course of radiotherapy at Southampton General Hospital and was prescribed steroids.

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‘While the radiotherapy was painless and non-invasive, the effects of the steroids were horrendous,’ he said.

Giganet staff in Fareham are taking part in Wear A Hat Day

‘I gained weight and struggled to sleep more than three hours at night.’

Luckily Steve has had stable scan results ever since and his scans have now been reduced to every two years.

He has since raised more than £12,000 for Brain Tumour Research by taking part in various fundraising events and campaigns over the years.

Steve, a senior supply chain manager, said: ‘It’s telling that both my mum and I were diagnosed with the same type of tumour and this highlights how prevalent the disease is. She experienced black-outs throughout my childhood, eventually requiring surgery to remove a massive tumour. Fortunately, she’s had the all-clear for years.

Steve Blake from Southampton

‘Some people aren’t as fortunate as me and my mum; less than 20 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50 per cent across all cancers.’

To support Steve’s wear a hat day, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/giganet.

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Harry, Becky and Steve Blake from Southampton