RAF Honington servicemen Jordan Brown vows to help others during terminal brain tumour fight
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
For 19 years Flight Sergeant Jordan Brown had bravely served Queen and country as a member of the Royal Air Force (RAF). An active and hard-working servicemen based at RAF Honington, the father-of-two had no idea of the devastating news which was to be given to him.
During the early hours of March 29 the 36-year-old suffered a seizure at home.
He was taken to West Suffolk Hospital where doctors thought he had a stroke. But after a CT scan showed a large mass on his brain he was sent for an MRI.
Mr Brown, who is father to nine-year-old Sam and four-year-old Grace, said: “There is a mirror in the MRI machine were you can look back at the operator’s window and more and more people started flooding in and you’re like, ‘this doesn’t look great’.”
Doctors told Mr Brown he had a malignant tumour the size of a large orange on the left side of his brain.
“Even then I was like, ‘I think your machine is wrong’, because I felt absolutely fine,” he said. “I had just been out working the day before and riding my bike.”
During an appointment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, Mr Brown was told the tumour was terminal and was like “tree roots just kind of invading every day, slowly”.
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The servicemen was scheduled in for an awake craniotomy, where surgeons would attempt to remove some of the tumour and take a biopsy.
The family were told there would be risks.
Mr Brown said: “We got a bit of time as a family before the chaos reined. You don’t know what’s going to come out with the surgery; you don’t talk or walk again, so it was good to get that break in.
“The RAF Benevolent Fund helped us to go away to a lovely place in Yorkshire in the middle of nowhere.”
Unfortunately surgeons were unable to remove any of the 9.5cm by 5cm tumour and Mr Brown, who hails from Dumfries, Scotland, suffered seizures throughout.
The family were given an official diagnosis of a low-grade and slow-growing oligodendroglioma tumour.
Life expectancy is given in five-year blocks with Mr Brown given between five to 10 years.
“It is inevitable that everyone is going to die,” he said. “Every one has a clock and the minute you are born the clock starts running. That’s reality. I just hear mine ticking now that’s all. But it could tick and tock for one, two, three or five years.”
Mr Brown, who has been married to his wife Debbie for 16 years, has recently finished six weeks of radiotherapy. He has a month break before he starts a 36-week course of chemotherapy.
Fundraising for further treatment
The family are currently raising £350,000 which could be used to undergo further treatment at The MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Texas.
If this treatment is not an option the money will be given to charities including The Brain Tumour Charity, Brain Tumour Research and Team Verrico.
Mrs Brown, 41, said: “Just to go out to America and see the consultant is £23,000. They are way ahead with research. They have a lot more trials over there where as here we asked and there is nothing in the pipeline for Jordan’s tumour.”
Mr Brown added: “Every week, every month, every year there is something else new happening. We wanted to set a plan up to raise money for when we need it. If the money is not for me and doesn’t help me then it will help someone else.”
RAF colleagues have been taking on numerous fundraising challenges, including marathons and spinathons, and donations have flooded in from around the world - so far £49,000 has been raised.
The family aim to also raise awareness of brain tumours and Mrs Brown has created tee shirts for fundraisers’ to wear bearing the names of the charities and has also made brain tumour information sheets.
“I thought we’d end up with a couple of thousands of pounds,” said Mr Brown, who joined the RAF aged 17 at Honington before returning nearly three years ago.
“But the money that has come in is astronomical and the support has been astronomical. I feel really humbled. If I can’t afford it [the treatment] or it doesn’t happen the money will go back into brain cancer so it can help the next person.”
Mr Brown is also focused on spending time with his family.
During Prince Harry’s visit to the base last month, Mr Brown and his son were able to meet the Royal - Sam presented him with the RAF Regiment 75 bear and flowers.
MORE - Prince Harry presented with teddy bear by son of military serviceman in visit to RAF Honington
The serviceman added: “Whereas people who don’t hear that clock don’t do the things they should, I see it as a real encouragement. You appreciate your time more.”
To donate to Mr Brown’s Go Fund me click here