A YOUNG woman is attempting to raise £40,000 to help her boyfriend to access specialist treatment after he was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Leo Collins, 22, from Chester was diagnosed with a Stage IV Diffuse Midline Glioma, a rare and very aggressive form of brain tumour, on March 21, 2024.

Leo’s girlfriend, Lucy Wood, said that the young couple’s world “fell apart” upon hearing the news.

“It was just crazy to find out [Leo had a tumour] as he’d never had any health problems,” Lucy said.

“After months of symptoms, it was insane that nothing had come up before.”

Leo had been experiencing symptoms such as intense headaches, dizziness and nausea for some time, but these were not picked up initially by doctors, upon visiting a private clinic he was scheduled to have a CT scan but was advised to visit A&E if these symptoms continued in the meantime.

After visiting A&E, an emergency CT scan confirmed that a large tumour was present in Leo’s brain.

“They initially explained that there was something in the brain that wasn’t normal and then he stayed in overnight and the next morning they explained that it was a brain tumour,” Lucy said.

Lucy rushed to the hospital along with Leo’s dad and brothers, where they were then informed about the next steps.

Leo underwent a six-hour surgery to insert a shunt into the brain to relieve the pressure caused by fluid. This was successful, however, during the surgery, the tumour started to bleed, and it was not possible to obtain a biopsy.

Chester and District Standard: Leo after his second surgery.Leo after his second surgery. (Image: Lucy Wood)

A second four-hour surgery was undertaken a couple days later, in which doctors were able to confirm the diagnosis.

A further surgery was conducted around three weeks later (April 17) to replace part of the shunt which had stopped working.

The cancer has meant that Leo has had to stop work as a roofer, due to the tumour affecting his balance, and has also had to surrender his license, which Lucy says was very difficult as Leo loves cars.

Despite the immense difficulties he has faced in the last couple of months, Lucy says that Leo’s positivity has been “amazing”.

“With him being so positive it has had a knock-on effect on us and helped us to be positive.

“We were all so down about the diagnosis and we didn’t know what to do, but he has had such a good mentality towards it, it’s amazed us all.”

The cancer cannot be cured but it is treatable, but Leo’s family looking at a range of treatments.

He is currently undergoing radiotherapy and has been put forward for a chemotherapy trial at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

The fundraiser, which has a target of £40,000, is aimed at allowing Leo to access an immunotherapy treatment in Turkey or Germany which attempts to activate the patient’s immune system, training it to fight mutated cells without damaging healthy ones.

Lucy says that there several patients who have lived for more than 30 years after their diagnosis with a successful round of this treatment.

More than £18,600 has already been raised from almost 600 contributions and there are further fundraising plans in the works.

You can access Leo’s GoFundMe page here.