Brain cancer patient who had “zero symptoms” walks the runway
Wednesday 18 October 2023
A young man with terminal brain cancer has taken part in an inspirational fashion show and is raising money to thank the teams who are supporting him.
Mason Morgan, 28, from Balham in south west London was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour in September 2022.
Despite ongoing treatment, Mason took his place on the catwalk in the Cancer Survivors’ Day fashion show at Guy’s Hospital. Now in its sixth year, the annual event celebrates cancer survivorship and the teams at Guy’s and St Thomas’ who have treated them.
Mason was due to move to Australia last October before his shock diagnosis. He said: “I had zero symptoms. That weekend I was packing and sorting stuff out for Australia. Then I vividly remember picking up a white T-shirt and blacking out for 15-30 seconds and my housemate being in my room and asking me questions. I was like ‘what are you doing here?’ And she said ‘do you not remember I’ve been here the whole time?’
“After that I rang NHS 111, they told me to go to King’s College Hospital and I didn’t leave there for 4 weeks.”
Mason had a high-grade (aggressive) brain tumour and had surgery at King’s College Hospital to try and remove it. Unfortunately, the nature of the tumour meant complete removal wasn’t possible, although surgeons removed as much as it was safe to.
Mason said: “It was tough to take and I didn’t know how to process it at all. I was on my own when I first got the diagnosis so had to tell my family but don’t remember the words I said. I felt like a robot. Because of the news, I didn’t know what to say or how to tell people.”
Following his recovery from surgery, Mason had 6 weeks of radiotherapy at Guy’s Cancer Centre where he also has chemotherapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy. He juggles these appointments with his job in marketing for a finance company at nearby London Bridge.
Mason, who is originally from Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, said: “I act like I don’t have it and it’s not in my head. I try and be normal.
“My friends, family and colleagues have all been supportive. I can’t thank them enough. You can sit on the sofa and be in a rut and be depressed but I strive not to be like that. I try to be the opposite.
“It stops me from doing lots of things. It’s a challenge every day. Making something to eat is a challenge because I can’t use my right side as well as I used to. You have to figure out certain ways around it. It’s not a straight line, you come off the beaten path a bit and curve round and then that’s your new pathway to be normal. It’s part of me and you have to deal with whatever cards you are dealt.”
Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40. Over 5,300 people lose their lives to a brain tumour each year and they reduce life expectancy by 27 years on average – the highest of any cancer. Just 12% of adults survive for five years after diagnosis.
Mason took part in the fashion show with twenty other patients who have recently finished or are still undergoing cancer treatment. The event is part of Cancer Survivors’ Day and is supported by Guy’s Cancer Charity. As well as a fashion show, it also included live music, seminars and exhibits.
I wanted to do it to give back for all the care, assistance and support I’ve received. I was more excited than worried or nervous.
“It was a good day. I’m 100% glad I’ve done it and am proud. My housemates and some of my nurses were there to support me.
“I would recommend it to other cancer patients and cancer survivors. It builds your confidence and makes you more comfortable with your diagnosis.”
Ellie Kostick, neurology clinical nurse specialist at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Mason has been amazing throughout his treatment. Despite a few set-backs he has just cracked on, even offering to support others going through a similar thing. He should be very proud of himself for how well he is doing.
“It was great to watch Mason up there on the catwalk. I hope he heard us all cheering loudly!”
Guy’s Cancer Charity supports Guy’s Cancer to transform cancer care through the very latest developments in personalised care. From tailored treatments to the ongoing support of the dedicated clinicians, they help support advances in cancer care for people like Mason.
Mason is raising money for Guy’s Cancer Charity and Macmillan Cancer Support. He has set himself a target of £15,000 and hopes to complete a range of challenges including the Vitality London 10K, Royal Parks Half Marathon and the London Marathon.
Laura Savory, Assistant Director of Fundraising at Guy’s Cancer Charity said: “We were delighted to have Mason support us through his fundraising challenges. Individual fundraisers, like Mason, raise vital funds that enable us to fuel innovation and support advances in cancer care. If you’re interested in supporting our work please visit us at Guy's Cancer Charity.”
You can donate to Mason’s fundraising by visiting Mason's JustGiving fundraising page.
Last updated: October 2023