Postie from Bedfordshire village who stopped breathing for four minutes set to take on walk for brain tumour charity

Despite life-threatening seizures, he vows to tackle fundraiser

By Clare Turner
Friday, 11th September 2020, 4:15 pm

A postman from Cranfield who is living with life-changing effects after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumour is taking on a Walk of Hope.

Father-of-three, Matt Shanley, 46, will take on the challenge around Marston Vale’s Millennium Country Park with his wife Julie, 36.

Their walk - on Saturday, September 26 - is one of dozens of similar events taking place across the UK for Brain Tumour Research to raise funds to help find a cure for the disease.

Matt Shanley

Julie said: “Our 10-mile walk will be quite a challenge for Matt. His surgery left him with life-changing consequences. People often say how well Matt looks, but they don’t know what he has to contend with.

"He has lost 50 per cent of his sight on the left side of both eyes, which means he will never be able to drive again. Matt also has balance issues, weakness down his left side, chronic fatigue and problems with his memory.

"He is so lucky to have his job as a postman in our home village. It means he can walk to and from work. Pushing his trolley is great as it makes it much easier for him to balance too."

Julie explained that for seven years, GPs told Matt he had vertigo, or inner ear damage brought on by labyrinthitis.

Matt and Julie Shanley

“But it turned out to be a slow-growing brain tumour. After finally being referred to neurology and having MRI scans and tests which revealed a brain tumour, the very next day Matt had his first massive tonic clonic seizure. It was absolutely terrifying. Matt stopped breathing for four minutes and I really thought he was dead."

She added: “He continues to have life-threatening seizures, but we are hoping that the dosage of medication he is now on continues to make these happen less frequently.”

Matt, whose postal round covers Cranfield, has become something of a local celebrity.

When he had surgery to remove the tumour in 2018, the community got behind him, sending him lots of cards. And villagers would even pop into the Co-op, which houses the post office, to get news of how he was doing, and when he returned to work, six months after his craniotomy, they offered their support in droves.

He said: “My life has changed immensely since I was diagnosed with brain tumour but nevertheless, I hope to be around for many more years with my wife and family. For so many brain tumour patients, their survival prognosis is very grim. I am taking part in Brain Tumour Research’s Walk of Hope to help find better outcomes for the thousands of people diagnosed each year.”

To donate to Matt and Julie’s fundraiser, visit here