Steve Ryder, from Stainland, Calderdale, was training for a charity cycling event when he suffered a seizure and was rushed to hospital. Doctors subsequently diagnosed him with two secondary brain tumours and two bleeds on his brain, with the treatment leading to a shocking second discovery.
"Around a quarter of a mile up a big climb, my mouth started opening and shutting on its own," said Mr Ryder, 51.
"I put my hand over my mouth to try and stop it but the movement was involuntary and it wouldn’t stop. I pulled over and rested my bike up against a wall at the side of the road. I sat down and a few seconds later, I began having a seizure.”
The father-of-three and IT worker was taken to Calderdale Royal Hospital after passers-by called an ambulance, and was sent for a CT scan which revealed the growths on his brain.
He said: "At two o’clock the following morning, the curtains were pulled back around my bay and I woke up to the sight of about eight medics, masked up at the foot of the bed. One of them unceremoniously told me that I had two brain tumours and two brain bleeds.”
Mr Ryder's case was referred onto Leeds Centre for Neurosciences at Leeds General Infirmary, and was told in a meeting with a consultant neurosurgeon that, thankfully, the tumours were operable.
On Friday 24 July, Steve had a seven-hour craniotomy to remove the tumours.
His wife Eileen and children Joseph, 13, Caitlin, 16, and Josh, 26, were unable to visit him as he underwent the major, life-saving surgery.
“As if the situation couldn’t have been more stressful for Eileen, as we waited for me to be taken into theatre, she received a phone call to say her mum had died.
"It was just horrific. I felt awful that I couldn’t be there to support her.”
But although both tumours were removed successfully, a histology revealed shocking results that Mr Ryder was not expecting.
He said: “The biopsy results showed I had stage 4 melanoma. It later transpired that I had received incorrect results from a histology report on a mole that was removed from my chest in May 2018. Having been told that the mole was non-cancerous, it was re-analysed and cancerous melanoma cells were, in fact, discovered. It was very difficult news to digest.”
In September, Mr Ryder started a course of immunotherapy, and thankfully a recent MRI scan showed no sign of tumour recurrence.
He has, however, suffered two more seizures and has to live with the nagging fear that another seizure could happen at any moment.
Mr Ryder has now set up a fundraiser for Brain Tumour Research to help raise awareness of the disease, which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
“I just wanted to give a little bit back, especially when I started reading into the shocking statistics surrounding the disease. The generosity, love and support from my family and friends in helping me raise this amount of money has been overwhelming, to say the least.
“Going through something like this really helps to put everything into perspective and my outlook on life has definitely changed. I’ve learned to live a lot more, as best you can during lockdown, and not to put things off. I advise others to do the same, as you never know what is around the corner. You only ever have today; tomorrow is not guaranteed.”
Historically just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Steve’s strength and positivity after all he’s endured over the past few months is really inspiring. We’re pleased he’s recovered well from surgery and wish him all the best for his ongoing treatment. We are really grateful to him for fundraising and for helping to raise awareness of this devastating disease."