Lorry driver who ‘forgot how to drive on motorway’ had brain tumour
A lorry driver who forgot how to drive was shocked to discover he had a brain tumour. Mark O’Meara, 47, was driving down the M27 when he suddenly lost sensation in the right side of his body.
The trucker immediately pulled over called 999, and thought he was having a stroke, and was blue-lighted to Southampton General Hospital. An MRI scan revealed a “broad bean-sized” lesion on his brain – thought to be a glioma – and Mark was forced to hand in his driving license.
Mark is undergoing brain surgery to remove the tumour today (April 1). The keen runner from Andover, Hampshire, said: “I thought I was having a stroke or had a trapped nerve as I suddenly lost sensation on the right side of my body and had a funny turn.
“I forgot how to do everything, including how to drive.” He added: “My diagnosis has meant I am not able to drive and I’ve been signed off long-term sick but I have still been able to run. I’ve been an ultra-runner for some time now and thankfully the amazing neuro team in Southampton were happy for me to keep running.
“I used to run 50 miles a week and went to the gym every day and I’ve carried that on as best I can since I was told about my brain tumour.” Mark had “a funny turn” while driving in September 2022. Doctors think the lesion in his brain is a glioma – a brain tumour which starts in glial cells, which are the supporting cells of the brain and the spinal cord.
At a follow-up scan in December, doctors saw no change and while he has regained mobility in his right arm and leg, he is having surgery today. He was due to take on a planned 200-mile running feat in South Wales to raise money for Brain Tumour Research, which he has postponed.
Mark has so far raised £1,000 for the charity. Speaking before his surgery, Mark said: “My diagnosis has made me stop and realise there is more to life than work. I found myself working long days, starting early in the morning and finishing late. In a way, it’s been the best thing to happen to me to make me realise what is important.”
Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re so grateful to Mark for sharing his story so far, and for taking on this incredible running challenge whilst waiting for surgery. He is an inspiration to brain tumour patients everywhere.
“His story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age and they kill more men under 70 than prostate cancer. We have to raise the awareness and funds to research this disease if we are to find a cure to stop this from ruining the lives of families.”
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