A world-renowned chef was left “unable to make a cup of tea” after a tumor-induced stroke left him paralyzed on the left side of his body.
John Lawson, 40, has worked with some of the world’s best-known chefs, including Raymond Blanc and Gordon Ramsay – and even was a private chef for the Beckhams.
After 18 months of running his own restaurant, “No. 8” in Melbourne, Australia, John began to experience blackouts and dizziness in December 2014.
Assuming it was just bouts of normal headaches for six months, he one day woke up having a seizure – leaving him unable to speak or use the left hand side of his body.
The renowned chef is now calling on people to back a petition by Brain Tumour Research calling on the Government to raise funding for research into the condition.
John, from Wickford, Essex, said: “I had assumed the headaches and mid-conversation blackouts I was getting were due to stress and never considered having them investigated.
“I thought they were the reality of my life and just got on with it until I woke having a seizure about six months later.
“I remember being confused over hearing lots of voices and was rushed to hospital where I was given the shock news I had an ‘abnormal growth’ in my brain.
“I assumed having a brain tumor meant I was going to die and wondered how long I had left to live.”
John was diagnosed with a grade 2 oligodendroglioma, which caused his stroke.
The stroke left him unable to perform basic tasks – giving him brain damage that affected his memory and left the left side of his body paralyzed.
Amazingly though, thanks to months of intensive rehabilitation, he has since recovered his speech and movement.
He later had a craniotomy, during which more than 90% of his tumor was removed.
Thankfully since the surgery, none of his scans have shown any signs of recurrence of the tumor.
He said: “I had to complete a taste test and make a cup of tea, neither of which I could do at first.
“I’d gone from running a kitchen with 60 chefs to failing a taste test and not being able to coordinate the steps needed to make a cup of tea.”
Having lost his lifelong career to the stroke, John now works as a food coach.
He is supporting Brain Tumour Research in their effort to force a Parliamentary debate on funding for research into brain tumors by securing 100,000 signatures for their petition.
John said: “I’m a big advocate of the need for greater investment in brain tumor research.
“We need to bring the survival rates for brain tumor patients in line with that of other cancers, like breast cancer, which has received a much higher level of investment to get it to where it is today.
“I would urge everyone to sign this petition. It only takes a minute and could save the life of someone you love.”
The charity is also calling on the Government to ring-fence £110 million of current and new funding to kick-start an increase in the national investment in brain tumor research to £35 million a year by 2028.
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “John’s story is a stark reminder of the indiscriminate nature of brain tumors, which can affect anyone at any time.
“We’re really grateful to him for supporting our petition and for helping us to raise awareness. For too long governments have put brain tumors on the ‘too difficult to think about’ pile.
“Five years after the Government announced £40 million for brain cancer research, less than £11 million has been spent. Patients and families continue to be let down by a funding system that is built in silos and not fit for purpose.
“If everyone can spare just a few minutes to sign and share, we will soon hit the 100,000 signatures we need and help find a cure, bringing hope to families whose loved ones have been affected by brain tumors.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
(Additional reporting provided by Talker News)
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