Retired Bedford police officer in cycling challenge after brain tumour diagnosis

15 years ago, he was given five years to live

By Clare Turner
Friday, 29th July 2022, 11:11 am
Updated Friday, 29th July 2022, 11:11 am

A retired police officer – who was diagnosed with a brain tumour 14 years ago – is preparing to take part in a cycle challenge to help fund research into the disease.

Andy Rivers, of Bedford, was diagnosed with an inoperable temporal lobe glioma after suffering a seizure in July 2008. He had been experiencing increasingly frequent bouts of sweating and feelings of déjà vu in the months before.

And the 56-year-old, who was aged 42 at the time, was given a prognosis of just five years.

Andy Rivers (Picture courtesy of Brain Tumour Research)

He said: “Having two young children made the news I had five years to live very hard; my youngest was just three and my eldest was seven. I’m a positive person but for three months after I found myself depressed.

“I just kept thinking ‘I have to get past the age where my children won’t be so affected if I die’. I really didn’t want to mess their lives up.

“Then I was given the best advice by someone who said ‘if you’ve only got a year, make it the best year and if you’ve got 20 years, make them the best 20 otherwise you’ll have the worst time because you’ll be worrying so much’.

“You don’t know what you don’t know and I’m a walking example of that. The doctors said I had five years but it hasn’t worked out that way because I’m still here 15 years later. Now every day’s a special day and I live each one to the full.”

Andy Rivers with son Tom (Picture courtesy of Brain Tumour Research)

Andy, a former Bedfordshire and City of London police officer who appeared in the first episode of the TV series 24 Hours in Police Custody, now takes daily anti-seizure medication and has regular scans to monitor his tumour, which has shown no signs of growth.

He’s also signed up to the Brain Tumour Research Cycle 274 Miles in August Challenge.

The father-of-two only started cycling in January and has set himself the target of raising a minimum £2,740, which is equivalent to the cost of funding a day of research at one of the charity’s centres of excellence.

He said: “In January if you’d said to me ‘get on a bike and ride even five or six miles’ I’d have laughed at you, but I decided I needed to lose weight so started cycling and got really into it.”

Cray Birch and Andy Rivers (Picture courtesy of Brain Tumour Research)

Andy will be completing the challenge with friends Cray Birch, Neil Goodwin and Daniel Freeman, with support from Bedford pub The Pheasant where they will start and end each ride on August 28.

He said: “We’re going to be doing three 100-mile rides. I did 75 at the weekend and was dying so I know it’s going to be tough but the reason I’m doing it will get me through. People with brain tumours are having to fight every day so the least I can do is fight to show my support for this charity.”

You can support Andy’s bike ride here – to find out more about the Cycle 274 Miles in August Challenge, visit here