Young man sent straight to A&E after complaining of headaches


A young man suffering from painful headaches had his world “flipped upside down” after a trip to the doctors.

Kieran Shingler, from Warrington, started with his symptoms on Bonfire Night last year and paracetamol and Sudafed didn’t help to ease them. After a week and a half, the 23-year-old’s pain progressed and the headaches also made him feel tired and nauseous. 

Doctors advised Kieran to go to A&E and following further tests he was diagnosed with high-grade cancerous brain tumour.

Kieran was referred to The Walton Centre that night, November 21 last year, where he had four major surgeries on his brain, including an emergency surgery on Christmas Day. The 23-year-old is currently having a four-week break and will start his second cycle of chemotherapy at the start of April in tablet form, which he can take at home.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, girlfriend of nine years Abbie Henstock, 24, said Kieran has always been an “active lad” and played football for as long as she’s known him for. However, since his diagnosis, he has not been able to play the sports he loves.

She said: “In 2020 lockdown he really got into triathlons. He got his first proper road bike in 2020 lockdown and it started from there really. Kieran joined a triathlon team, TriCentral UK, at the start of 2022 and competed in several triathlons, including a 70.3 in Chester last summer. Since his diagnosis, Kieran hasn’t been able to go swimming, for a run or even on his bike.

“This has obviously been frustrating and devastating for him as he’s lost quite a bit of his fitness but turning that into a positive, the fitness he had has really benefited him, as doctors and nurses have told us several times.

“Even after his first major brain surgery, he still wanted to go out walking to a local coffee shop. During his treatment, he was out walking with me as well. We were just amazed at how he was still wanting to get outside, even if it was a walk around the block, while he was having all this intense treatment and after having four major brain surgeries.”

Abbie described her partner as “gentle” and “laidback” and said how his loved ones are immensely proud of him.

She said: “Kieran is the most gentle person, he is so laid back and doesn’t stress about anything. He always has a smile on his face and always wants to please everybody first. He enjoys being around his family as we are quite a close family.

“He enjoys triathlons, a massive fan of Liverpool FC and enjoys the company of our friends, whether that is a camping trip, a meal out or a trip to the gym. We are so unbelievably proud of him, there are not enough words for it.

“Our worlds were flipped upside down and it’s been the worst couple of months of our lives, however, we have to accept what is going on and take each day as it comes. Myself, his mum, dad, sister and her boyfriend as well as his extended friends and family are with him every step of the way.”

Abbie and Kieran’s friends and family are now keen to raise funds to support several brain tumour charities. They have now set up a GoFundMe page and are taking part in numerous fundraising events.

The 24-year-old said: “Before Kieran got diagnosed we didn’t really know much about brain tumours. I had seen the recent news about Tom Parker from The Wanted but never really paid much attention to the funding, as I assumed it would be treated the same as breast cancer etc. However, we now know how underfunded it is. Each year in the UK, 2,374 young people aged 16 to 24 are diagnosed with cancer. Over £700m is spent on cancer research but less than 3 per cent is spent on brain cancer.

“In June, 110 [members] of our family and friends are taking part in Warrington’s 5K pretty muddy as part of ‘Kieran’s Krew’ and all the funds we raise are going towards Brain Cancer Research UK. We are currently on just over £8.5k.

“Myself, Kieran’s sister, mum and his mum’s friend are doing a skydive to raise money for Clatterbridge Cancer Care Centre. Half of the money raised will be going to the Teenage, Young Adults ward and the other 50 per cent will be going to the department that needs it the most.

“Kieran’s triathlon club are taking part in a 100-mile bike ride in April to raise funds for Kieran. His old football team are climbing up Snowdon to also raise money for our GoFundMe page and his friend is taking part in his very first triathlon in May. There is so much going on, we are so overwhelmed and want to encourage more people to raise money for Brain Tumour charities.

“It’s Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March so I think it the perfect time to share our story. There has also been a debate at the House of Commons on March 9 regarding the funding for Brain Tumours.”

To donate to the GoFundMe, please click here.

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