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"Some people see cancer as a death sentence, I see it as a chance to survive"

Paul Levitt September 2004

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Why We're Here

I've had the challenging experience of dealing with cancer and thankfully have been fortunate to have had the strength, knowledge and support around me to overcome this ordeal. This inspired me to set up the Paul Levitt Foundation 2004 to raise money for Cancer Research and other charities.

The foundation aims to organise various ways of fund raising in the form of shows, balls, auctions and sporting events. The money raised from this foundation will be donated to several cancer based trusts, units and charities. These include the Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Campaign, Cancer Research UK and Bloodwise formerly Leukaemia Research .

The Foundation will also aim to educate cancer survivors, their friends and family and health care professionals about topics of survival. It will offer an opportunity for people to provide links, learn more about cancer, read about other cancer survivors and provide links to current research.

The sad reality, in this day and age, is that 1 in 3 of us experience some form of cancer at some time in our lives. Most people are fortunate in having good health, but I'm sure that all of us have been affected by a person close to us experiencing cancer in some way.

Any donations or help, in any form, will be greatly appreciated. Please share this resource with anyone you think may benefit from it.

Thank you,

Paul Levitt

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Gives Back

Bringing Hope to Brain Tumour Survivors

The Paul Levitt Foundation is a charitable fundraiser devoted to making people with brain tumours  lives more enriched by various initiatives designed to help those in need. Together, we can make a difference to the brain tumour community the world for generations to come. Whether you want to contribute with money or time, read more about our work and learn how you can make a change today.

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About My Journey

It all happened in the early hours of Monday September 13th 2004, when my recollection of my ordeal was waking up in an ambulance. I was told that I had a grand mal seizure. They took me to the nearest A&E department at Twickenham hospital and routinely after any seizure I had a CT scan on my brain. The results showed that there was a shadow in my brain which the doctors suspected was a tumour, so they decided that I should be transferred to Charring Cross hospital. Whilst waiting for the transfers, they also discovered that I had fractured a rib and dislocated my right shoulder. Having my shoulder reduced, they transferred me.

After arriving at Charring Cross Hospital, I had an MRI scan and it revealed that I had a brain tumour in my left frontal lobe. I met the neurosurgeon Mr Mendoza who recommended that I should have surgery. There were 2 options with regards to the surgery; the first being completely remove all of what they thought was all the cancerous tissue with a 50% chance of a major neurological deficit, especially complete loss of my right side. Or the second was to de-bulk the tumour approximately 80-100% and having less chance of any deficit. Having discussed this with my parents and partner (now my wife) we decided take the second option. We also asked what the prognosis was for my condition, to which they replied, not surviving the surgery, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years or 30 years! I decided it would be the latter.

2 weeks later I had the surgery and was out of the intensive care unit after 4 hours as they clearly realised that cognitively I was making a very good recovery, together with all the other medical observations. I was transferred to a high dependency unit overnight and then the  next morning I decided to walk down 10 flights of stairs to get a proper coffee, as ward coffee is much to be desired. My partner came to see me the next morning to find me not there and upon asking where I was, the staff nurse replied he’s gone to the coffee stand in the lobby. My partner was not too please about this, to which I replied, “I only walked down the stairs and not back up as I didn’t want to spill the coffee”.

Later that day I was transferred to the neuro ward and discharged the next morning, which equalled the hospital record of being discharged 2 days after major brain surgery (a record I’m quite proud of)! 2 days after being released I discovered that the morphine was slowly wearing off and experienced post brain surgery headaches, something that I wouldn’t recommend. I decided that I would only take paracetamol for 1 week, as I would be on a whole cocktail of drugs during my next phase of treatment. Having met my oncologist, they decided that I should have an evasive maximum dosage of radiotherapy to ensure that all the cancerous cells in my brain were eradicated with no chemotherapy. The reason for this was, as they reported that dosage of the particular drug was so high that there was only a 5% chance of it getting through the blood brain barrier and was more harmful than the chances of being helpful.  3 weeks later, I started my radiotherapy having to use a self-moulded plastic mask. The treatment lasted for 7weeks, 5 days a week. I also started to wear ankle weights to counter act lower limb muscle wastage from some of the drugs. Approximately 3 weeks after starting the treatment I started to lose my hair, although I knew this would happen, it was quite strange. My motivation for the treatment was that I would have been working in a hospital by this stage and looked at it like that. I also started visualisation techniques that I still do today daily.

On the final day of my treatment, my dear nana Blanche passed away at the ripe old age of 92. It was quite ironic as it was almost as she was giving her life to me. During my treatment I returned to work at Brentford FC and had a lot of support from all my friends, family, university colleagues and the football club. My first check up was 3 months later and there was no evidence of any re-growth of the tumour. 5 months after completing my treatment, I was informed that I was able to apply for full time jobs and hence worked at Ealing hospital for over 7 years. My second check up was after 8 months and it wasn’t positive. My regular team of doctors were not present when the decision to operate was decided. 1 week later I was being prepped for a second surgery, when my team of doctors reviewed my case and decided that they didn’t want to perform another procedure as there was no conclusive evidence of re-growth.  Not long after, I was discharged from neurosurgery and then my consultant neuro-oncologist retired. Having no faith in his replacement (the same doctor decided I needed more sugery), I got a referral to the Royal Marsden Hospital, to which over 14 years later, I’m still with.

My appointments were quarterly for the first 3 years, then half yearly for the next 4 years and now I have a check up once a year. Thankfully, I’m in good health, still do my visualisation and even got married to my beautiful wife who has been my absolute rock.

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It's time again. Team PLF will be embarking on the next challenge riding 11 days from London to Upper Austria. If you're interested we're looking for your help. Please contact us if you would like to contribute.

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Every person has the chance to make a change for good — no matter how big or small. Whatever amount you can give, or time you are willing to dedicate, know that your contribution makes a difference in the lives of others. Your donation, whether finacnial or time, together with those of our other supporters, brings us ever closer to our goals.

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