Gran’s hilarious name for ‘ticking time bomb’ tumour which may grow at any time

A grandmother with a “ticking time bomb” brain tumour which can’t be operated on has named the growth after Harry Potter’s wizarding nemesis – Voldemort. Tara Simpson, 49, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at 36-years-old after she suffered a seizure while kayaking with friends.

However, it was was inoperable due to it being too close to the motor skills area of her brain for a biopsy.

The former psychiatric nurse from St Austell, Cornwall, said: “Now my family and I call it Voldemort, as in he-who-must-not-be-named.”

Doctors at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth told the mum-of-three in 2011 that they would adopt a “wait and watch” approach.

Tara was advised it could take anywhere between two and 12 years for the mass to begin to grow – at which point radiotherapy and chemotherapy would be needed.

Tara said: “I’m very aware those 12 years are up now, and I’ve got a ticking time bomb in my head which could start growing any day. The threat of it is always there, I have daily reminders of it because I still suffer seizures, despite medication I’m on.

“I know it’s a battle I’m going to have to face at some point, but I’m such a happy-go-lucky person that I prefer not to dwell on the what ifs.

“I’d rather joke about it and take each day as it comes.”

The tumour has forced Tara out of work or the ability to drive because of her seizures, which cause her limbs and face to twist and contort. She said the loss of her independence has been on of the most difficult things to come to terms with.

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“I lost my youngest son, Ethan, in 2008 when he was 10,” she explained, “He got meningitis which caused health complications, including brain damage and blood clots.

“But he was always smiling, despite his problems, and that inspires me to stay positive and keep going. I get ‘scanxiety’ ahead of my annual check-ups, but I always stay hopeful.

“It’s shocking how little is still known about train tumours, but with more investment in research I have to believe there will be advances to treatments in the future.”

Now Tara’s sister, Yvette Clark, 58, is taking on the Jog 26 Miles in May Challenge to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research.

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The self-employed painter and decorator from Launceston, Cornwall, said: “I’ve never been a runner, even at school I’d find ways to get out of it.

“But I got through Couch to 5K during Covid-19 and so doing a marathon over the course of a month seemed like a great challenge, and a way to support my sister and all the other people diagnosed with brain tumours.”

The grandmother-of-two added: “This is such an important cause to me, and I think Tara is incredibly brave. If this had happened to me, I would have curled up and said ‘no I can’t do this’, but she doesn’t let anything stop her.

“Everyday she gets up, she’s happy, she has seizures but she gets over them, and the next day she does it all over again. She is such a strong character.”

You can donate to Yvette’s Facebook fundraiser here.

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