Halloween trick or treat leads to brain tumour nightmare
A teen from Steeple Claydon is hoping to defy the odds when he takes his driving test just before All Hallows’ Eve, having suffered four seizures at Halloween four years ago which resulted in a brain tumour diagnosis.
Maliek Rahman, now 18 and a student at Aylesbury College living in Steeple Claydon, came crashing through the back door onto the kitchen floor after going out to buy a tin of sweets to give trick or treaters.
His mum, Claire Delaney was watching a TV programme about demonic possession at the time.
Claire said: “Maliek is always larking around, so when I saw him completely rigid on the floor, making some very strange guttural sounds, I initially thought this was his idea of a Halloween joke. It took me a minute or two to realise that this was actually something serious – it turned out to be a tonic-clonic seizure.”
Maliek, then a pupil at The Buckingham School, was taken to A&E but was discharged as the event was dismissed as “probably just a one-off”.
Exhausted, he went to bed, but had another seizure so was taken back to hospital, where he had two further seizures. It was only then that Maliek was put on anti-seizure medication and was sent for an MRI scan.
On the afternoon of 1 November 2015, Claire was taken to a family room where she was given the earth-shattering news that her 14-year-old son had a brain tumour.
Maliek, who along with Claire is working with the charity Brain Tumour Research to raise awareness of the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40, said: “As soon as Mum heard the word ‘tumour’ she thought of cancer and was convinced I was going to die.
“My diagnosis came totally out of the blue. I had never had any speech or coordination issues, although I used to complain of headaches. This was put down to dehydration and I was constantly told to drink more. I had also had my eyes checked out by an optician.”
Maliek underwent surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to remove the brain tumour, which turned out to be a ganglioglioma, but had to undergo a further operation just a few days later when his neuro-surgeon saw remains of the tumour on a scan.
A year later, in November 2016, Maliek received the devastating news that the tumour had regrown.
Maliek said: “Because I love cars, live in a very rural place and was really looking forward to learning to drive, I decided not to watch and wait, but to undergo surgery for a third time. I didn’t want to find myself in a position where I was driving while having another seizure.”
Since that time, Maliek has had no further issues or seizures and even passed a medical in February this year to allow him to get a provisional driving licence. He is hoping to take his test later this month.
Maliek added: “I feel very lucky as I know that for many people diagnosed with a brain tumour the outlook is so much worse.”
Paula Rastrick, community fundraising manager at Brain Tumour Research for the Central region, said: “We are very thankful to Maliek and Claire for their support and helping to raise awareness.
“Maliek’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers, and we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK.
It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.
The charity is calling for an annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
To donate, go to www.braintumourresearch.org/donation