Calderdale man told he has two brain tumours after suffering seizure while cycling

A Calderdale man who was diagnosed with two brain tumours is embarking on an epic cycling challenge to help others like him.

By sarah fitton
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 11:17 am

Steve Ryder, from Stainland, was given the life-changing news after he suffered a seizure while out cycling in July 2020.

“It was a hard ride, but I noticed that I was finding it significantly more difficult than usual," said the 52-year-old.

"After 45 minutes, I suddenly felt really odd, so I had an energy gel and started the climb up another steep hill.

Steve Ryder is embarking on an epic fundraising challenge

“Around a quarter of a mile up, my mouth started opening and shutting on its own. I put my hand over my mouth to try and stop it, but the movement was involuntary, and it continued.

“I stopped to rest at the side of the road but a few seconds later, I began fitting. I couldn’t speak and I’d lost all control of movement in my arms and legs, but I was completely lucid in my thinking.

"It was really scary, as I didn’t have a clue what was going on.”

A passing motorist stopped and called an ambulance. Paramedics took Steve to Calderdale Royal Hospital where he had a CT scan.

Steve after his surgery

Steve - who is step-dad to Josh, 27, Joseph, 15, and Caitilan, 17 - said: “Everyone was masked up because of Covid, so I couldn’t read the medics’ expressions. One of them unceremoniously told me that I had two brain tumours and two brain bleeds.

“I had prepared myself for some bad news, but I never suspected brain tumours. It felt like the bottom had fallen out of my world. None of them gave me any reassurance that the tumours may be treatable, and I assumed the absolute worst.”

Steve’s case was referred to Leeds Centre for Neurosciences at Leeds General Infirmary where the consultant neurosurgeon said the tumours were operable. He underwent an operation the same month and both were successfully removed.

Steve’s biopsy showed he had stage four melanoma. His brain tumours were secondary tumours, but no primary tumours had been identified.

Steve with his family

He said: “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 2020, Steve began a course of immunotherapy at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds. He will have another MRI scan in August, and he hopes that his immunotherapy treatment next month will be his last.

In July 2020, Steve went on sick leave from his job in IT for Lloyds Banking Group because of his seizures and to focus on his recovery. He returned to work part-time in April 2022. Since then, he has raised £2,600 for Brain Tumour Research through a Facebook fundraiser he created for his birthday in December.

In August 2021, he raised £2,800 doing the Brain Tumour Research charity's Cycle 274 miles in August challenge. Now, he’s doing the cycling challenge again to raise more money.

“I just wanted to do something to give a little bit back, especially when I started reading into the shocking statistics," said the keen cyclist.

“Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. Yet historically, just 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

“I’m doing this challenge in memory of my good friend, Richard Walker. He was only 51 when he died from a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour on June 29 this year - just 14 months after he was first diagnosed. He left behind his partner, Sarah, and son, Charlie.”

Earlier this month, Steve completed the bike ride that was cut short by the seizure two years ago.

"That was a big milestone for me and I had butterflies in my stomach before setting off," he said. "When I stopped at the spot where I had collapsed, it was as vivid as the day it happened.

“It made me feel thankful for all of the help and support I’ve had. I’m still here and I’m still cycling, a lot of people aren’t so fortunate.”

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.

Matthew Price, Community Development Manager at Brain Tumour Research said: “We’re really grateful to Steve for taking on this challenge as it’s only with the support of people like him that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumours and improve the outcome for patients like Steve who are forced to fight this awful disease.

“Brain tumours are indiscriminate. They can affect anyone at any time. Too little is known about the causes and that is why increased investment in research is vital.”

To donate to Steve’s fundraising page, visit facebook.com/donate/808735653449481