Up until April of this year life was pretty great for Mark Shaw...he was happily married to his college sweetheart, Mawusi, they had just announced to friends and family that they are expecting their first baby in September, he was enjoying his work as an animator at Piranha Bar, which is his passion and something that he is exceptionally talented at. Life was great, until it suddenly wasn't!
Right around the time Mark and Mawusi were busy telling loved ones their wonderful baby news, something began to feel not quite right
for Mark. It began as a tingling sensation in his face and soon his speech and movement began to be affected, as his symptoms worsened he went to the doctor. Mark had been here before, over a decade ago he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. As a young man in his early 20's he was told by doctors that he had less than a year to live. Mark refused to give up and after intense radiotherapy treatment, he made a remarkable recovery but he always knew there was a chance it could come back.
An MRI confirmed that there was a tumour but the original brain scans from a decade before had been lost when the HSE changed over to a digital system, so there was no way of knowing how much the tumour had progressed.
The only way to get definitive answers in order to treat Mark's tumour and deteriorating symptoms was to carry out a very risky biopsy. He made it through the procedure but it has left him with severe side effects of facial paralysis, blurred vision and loss of balance. Things went from bad to worse when the biopsy results came back. Mark was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma cancer of the brain.
His medical team here in Ireland have told him there is no hope, the tumour is inoperable and they are only offering him palliative care. Mark and Mawusi won't give up that easily. They are looking into alternative treatments, which are not recognised or covered by the HSE care. As time progresses, so too do Mark's symptoms. We need to act fast.
For now, Mawusi has stopped working in order to care for Mark full-time. Though Mark is very ill and the focus is on his health, bills don't stop coming through the door. We want Mark and Mawusi to be able to concentrate on his health and wellbeing, not to have to worry about bills, not to have to pass up on alternative treatments that might help Mark recover because of cost, not to have to worry about providing for their baby when it arrives in September.
Our ask is two-fold:
If you know of any potential treatment that could help save Mark, please let us know. Unfortunately, the fact that Mark's tumour is inoperable rules him out of most of the clinical trials and immunotherapy treatments out there. We are desperate to find a treatment for Mark that will improve his quality of living and help him beat this tumour...he has defied medical logic before, we hope he can do it again.
If you are in a position to donate to Mark's fund please do, any amount is greatly appreciated.
With love and thanks, Mark's friends and family