Brain cancer-stricken father, 40, dies just weeks after fulfilling last wish to marry his partner of 17 years

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A widow has told of her grief at her cancer-stricken husband dying just weeks after he fulfilled his last wish of getting married.

Paul Jeffries, from Birmingham, received a shock glioblastoma diagnosis in 2017 after suffering a series of seizures. 

Told he likely had just 18 months left, the line engineer proposed to his partner of 17 years Kelly and began planning their wedding. 

Typical treatment plans for the ‘aggressive’ tumour — which strikes around 3,000 Brits and 12,000 Americans each year — sees patients have surgery before chemo and radiotherapy. This is still the same way it was treated in the early 2000s. 

But after enduring two craniotomies — surgery to remove part of the bone from the skull — radiotherapy and chemotherapy, he defied expectations, surviving for four years. 

Paul Jeffries, from Birmingham , received a shock glioblastoma diagnosis in 2017 after suffering a series of seizures. Told he likely had just 18 months left, the line engineer proposed to his partner of 17 years Kelly and began planning their wedding 

Typical treatment plans for the 'aggressive' tumour — which strikes around 3,000 Brits and 12,000 Americans each year — sees patients have surgery before chemo and radiotherapy. This is still the same way it was treated in the early 2000s. Pictured, the couple with their three children - Leah, 18, Josh, 16, and Charlie, 10. They all wore blue in a nod to Paul's beloved Birmingham City FC

Typical treatment plans for the ‘aggressive’ tumour — which strikes around 3,000 Brits and 12,000 Americans each year — sees patients have surgery before chemo and radiotherapy. This is still the same way it was treated in the early 2000s. Pictured, the couple with their three children – Leah, 18, Josh, 16, and Charlie, 10. They all wore blue in a nod to Paul’s beloved Birmingham City FC

After enduring two craniotomies — surgery to remove part of the bone from the skull — radiotherapy and chemotherapy, he defied expectations, surviving for four years. Pictured, Paul with Kelly

After enduring two craniotomies — surgery to remove part of the bone from the skull — radiotherapy and chemotherapy, he defied expectations, surviving for four years. Pictured, Paul with Kelly  

When his health declined in January 2021, the couple decided to finally wed in an intimate ceremony surrounded by their children, despite Covid restrictions. 

He died three months later in April and never made it to a London clinical trial he was put forward for. 

Speaking about her husband’s death, Mrs Jeffries, a former cleaner for Royal Mail, said: ‘We’d previously spoken about marriage and after he was diagnosed he proposed to me.

‘We planned it all out and had everything booked but then Covid restrictions saw our arrangements cancelled.

‘It was our wish to marry before he died and as Paul became really poorly, we were able to get married with special circumstances.’

After suddenly suffering a month of seizures, Mrs Jeffries claim the couple were told in early 2017 that he had a low-grade brain tumour. Within two months he underwent surgery to remove the mass. But results of a biopsy confirmed the tumour was in fact grade four — the most aggressive and serious type. Pictured, Mr Jeffries after his first surgery

After suddenly suffering a month of seizures, Mrs Jeffries claim the couple were told in early 2017 that he had a low-grade brain tumour. Within two months he underwent surgery to remove the mass. But results of a biopsy confirmed the tumour was in fact grade four — the most aggressive and serious type. Pictured, Mr Jeffries after his first surgery

The wedding, at Sutton Coldfield’s Lea Marston Hotel, was ‘truly the best under the circumstances’, she added.  

‘I was emotional throughout but having Paul by my side was so special and to be married was what we both wanted.’

After suddenly suffering a month of seizures, Mrs Jeffries claim the couple were told in early 2017 that he had a low-grade brain tumour. 

The tumours are graded one to four according to their behaviour, such as the speed at which they are growing.

Within two months, Mr Jeffries underwent surgery to remove the mass.

But a biopsy confirmed the tumour was, in fact, grade four — the most aggressive and serious type. 

He had six weeks of radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy and for months his scans were stable. 

In April 2020, however, Mr Jeffries was forced to undergo surgery again after medics discovered a new growth in a different part of his brain. 

After his condition deteriorated, Mrs Jefferies researched different options to try and ‘help prolong his life’. 

While he was put forward for a trial in London, he wasn’t well enough to attend. Mrs Jeffries cared for him until his death on April 5, 2021.

She said: ‘Paul quickly lost mobility on the left side of his body which meant he dragged his foot.

‘Before seeing a loved one experience a brain tumour, I never understood what exactly it meant. I wish I still didn’t.’

Diagnosed patients usually undergo surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible.

In April 2020 he was forced to undergo surgery again after medics discovered a new growth in a different part of his brain. After his condition deteriorated in late 2020, however, and the couple married, Mrs Jefferies also researched different options to try and 'help prolong his life'

In April 2020 he was forced to undergo surgery again after medics discovered a new growth in a different part of his brain. After his condition deteriorated in late 2020, however, and the couple married, Mrs Jefferies also researched different options to try and ‘help prolong his life’

While he was put forward for a trial in London, he wasn't well enough to attend. Mrs Jeffries cared for him until his death on April 5, 2021. Pictured, Paul and Kelly with their children, Leah, Charlie, Josh and other family members

While he was put forward for a trial in London, he wasn’t well enough to attend. Mrs Jeffries cared for him until his death on April 5, 2021. Pictured, Paul and Kelly with their children, Leah, Charlie, Josh and other family members

The Wanted singer Tom Parker (pictured with his wife Kelsey Parker in October 2021) died in March 2022 following an 18-month battle with stage four glioblastoma. He said after his diagnosis that he was 'shocked' at the limited treatment options for GBM and 'massive improvements' were needed

The Wanted singer Tom Parker (pictured with his wife Kelsey Parker in October 2021) died in March 2022 following an 18-month battle with stage four glioblastoma. He said after his diagnosis that he was ‘shocked’ at the limited treatment options for GBM and ‘massive improvements’ were needed

The cancer, which is diagnosed in around 3,000 Brits and 12,000 Americans a year, is still treated in the same way it was in the early 2000s. The average survival time is around 15 months, with fewer than 10 per cent of patients alive five years after diagnosis following standard treatment. It killed the Labour politician Dame Tessa Jowell in 2018

The cancer, which is diagnosed in around 3,000 Brits and 12,000 Americans a year, is still treated in the same way it was in the early 2000s. The average survival time is around 15 months, with fewer than 10 per cent of patients alive five years after diagnosis following standard treatment. It killed the Labour politician Dame Tessa Jowell in 2018

This is followed by daily radiation and chemo drugs for around six weeks, after which the drugs are scaled back.

Radiation can be then used to destroy additional tumour cells and treat those who are not well enough for surgery. But the cancer can double in size in just seven weeks. 

Average survival time for glioblastoma is between 12 and 18 months, according to the Brain Tumour Charity. Only 5 per cent of patients survive five years, it says.

The disease killed the Labour politician Dame Tessa Jowell in 2018.

In March 2022, The Wanted singer Tom Parker also died following an 18-month battle with stage four glioblastoma.

In a bid to raise awareness for the charity, Brain Tumour Research, she has shared her story ahead of its annual fundraiser on March 29. 

‘We were unsuspecting victims of brain cancer and had to navigate our way through a terminal diagnosis where there is a huge lack of investment into research,’ she said. 

WHAT IS A GLIOBLASTOMA? 

Glioblastomas are the most common cancerous brain tumours in adults.

They are fast growing and likely to spread. 

Glioblastomas’ cause is unknown but may be related to a sufferer’s genes if mutations result in cells growing uncontrollably, forming a tumour.

Treatment is usually surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, followed by a combination of radio- and chemotherapy (chemoradiation).

It can be difficult to remove all of the growth as glioblastomas have tendrils that extend to other regions of the brain. These are targeted via chemoradiation. 

Glioblastomas are often resistant to treatment as they are usually made up of different types of cells. Therefore, medication will kill off some cells and not others. 

The average survival time is between 12 and 18 months.

Source: The Brain Tumour Charity

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