Warning: Graphic content
A concert is being held at the Hard Rock Café in Glasgow in memory of a dad-of-two who died from a brain tumour.
Craig Johnston died from a glioblastoma brain tumour in November 2021.
The 34-year-old’s dad, Alan, first realised something was wrong when his son had a seizure in July 2018.
Craig’s wife, Jill, phoned him in the early hours of the morning, with Alan recalling: “Jill said that Craig was having a seizure while he was sleeping so I drove straight over to their house.
“When I arrived, paramedics were there and took him to Darlington Memorial Hospital. He had an MRI scan which revealed two little marks on his brain.”
Three weeks later, Craig, from County Durham, underwent surgery at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Alan said: “The operation went really well, and when Craig woke up, he was joking with the porter. He was a strong, fit lad, and he looked fine. But two weeks later, we were told that Craig had a grade three astrocytoma.
“The news absolutely floored Craig, and we were all stunned. We just felt total despair.”
That November, Craig, dad to four-year-old Millie and ten-year-old Ally, underwent radiotherapy and six months of chemotherapy.
At the start of 2020, an MRI scan showed the tumour had grown so he had another operation to remove it, followed by six months of chemotherapy.
Despite this, Craig then took part in an Ironman challenge in Bolton in July 2021, raising more than £3,500 for Brain Tumour Research.
Alan said: “We thought it was absolutely crazy but the challenge gave Craig something to focus on, and he thought it would help to inspire others who were going through similar experiences.
“He absolutely amazed me but that was the type of person he was. He was so determined and he was just a marvellous son.”
In September 2021, Craig started to have seizures and he was suffering from headaches which were increasing in severity. An MRI scan revealed another regrowth and he required a third operation to remove the tumour.
Alan said: “The tumour had progressed to a stage four glioblastoma. Craig knew the prognosis was terminal but he still put on a brave face.”
On November 10, 2021, Craig died peacefully while surrounded by his loving family.
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. However, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours, according to charity Brain Tumour Research.
Now, three of Alan’s closest friends have organised a charity concert at Glasgow’s Hard Rock Café on November 11, to raise money for Brain Tumour Research in memory of Craig.
Alan said: “Craig was such a friendly, open and honest family man. He was also a very good guitar player and loved rock music so this concert is a fitting way to celebrate Craig’s life and raise much needed money for Brain Tumour Research.”
Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said: “We are extremely grateful to Bill and Alan for organising what should be a wonderful concert at the Hard Rock Cafe.
“It’s only with the support of people like them that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumours, improve options and outcomes for patients like Craig, and ultimately, find a cure for all types of brain tumours.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.
The charity is behind the call for a national annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
You can buy tickets for the concert at the Hard Rock Café in Glasgow here.