A woman who is fighting a brain tumour for the second time is taking on the challenge of doing 100 star jumps a day in November while receiving chemotherapy.
Charlotte Hobbs, 42, of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, will complete 100 star jumps every day this month, in aid of Brain Tumour Research. She has just begun chemotherapy following a relapse, 10 years after she was first diagnosed with the disease.
The mother-of-two, was stopped in her tracks when she was diagnosed with a grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma in July 2010, after a seizure led to her being hospitalised at Heath Hospital in Cardiff and later diagnosed with a brain tumour, forcing her to leave a career in the police force in 2012, and pursue a career in personal training.
Charlotte, a part-time student, said: “I needed a procedure called an awake craniotomy. I remember listening to my iPod so I couldn’t hear the terrifying noise around me. I had a playlist and one song I remember, which was popular at the time, was a cover of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ by the group Hearsay.”
Charlotte remained awake for the duration of her surgery and was asked to perform simple tasks, such as speaking and moving her hands, so the surgeon could avoid the parts of the brain that operate those functions. These days, awake craniotomies usually involve the patient being put the sleep and being woken up during the operation.
Following the surgery, Charlotte received six weeks of radiotherapy at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff. She was told by her oncologist that the tumour would return and she attended six-monthly then yearly scans to monitor its status. In October 2020 Charlotte was asked to attend an appointment in-person and was given the devastating news the tumour had returned and she would need another craniotomy, more radiotherapy and this time, chemotherapy as well.
COVID-19 meant that Charlotte’s most recent operation in December 2020 saw her say goodbye to her 39-year-old husband Dafydd, a management consultant, at the doors to Heath Hospital. Charlotte was operated on by the same team who performed her surgery in 2010.
For the six weeks leading up to the operation, Charlotte’s 15-year-old daughter Freya, stayed with her father in Barry, and her 10-year-old Catrin remained home-schooled after lockdown eased and children returned to school, to reduce the risk of Charlotte contracting coronavirus before and after her surgery.
Charlotte said: “Being separated from Freya was tough but it meant she could continue going to school without the risk of her bringing the virus home with her, which could’ve led to a delay in my treatment. Luckily, we were able to reunite at Christmas, when we got back together as a family to enjoy a Christmas dinner alfresco, due to lockdown restrictions.”
Charlotte will complete a total of 3,000 star jumps throughout November all while undergoing her eighth cycle of chemotherapy.
Charlotte said: “Over the past 10 years, I’ve done several challenges to raise money for charity, but doing 100 star jumps a day during chemo will make the Three Peaks and my London to Brighton 100k walk feel like a stroll in the park.”
Within 24 hours of Charlotte setting up her Facebook fundraising page, she had raised more than her £3,000 target, with her daughters Freya, and Catrin, cheering her on during her challenge. Charlotte plans to complete the star jumps on her own with the support of her family and will be posting regular updates on the 100 Star Jumps A Day in November Challenge Facebook page.
Since her second operation, Charlotte has experienced limited mobility along the left-hand side of her body for which she attends weekly rehabilitation with friend and personal trainer, Laura, who will jump alongside Charlotte during their weekly sessions.
Charlotte added: “After my first operation in 2010 I could speak, but it took me a while to work out what I wanted to say. This time round I am working on mobility in my left hand and leg, and for my latest set of star jumps I had to look in the mirror to check my left foot was moving as the radiotherapy has damaged the part of my brain that controls this side of my body.”
In August 2021, Charlotte passed her final exam after moving on from personal training to study health science at BPP University in London for four years. Originally planning a masters degree to become a chiropractor, Charlotte is now inspired to pursue a career in medical research after her own experiences over the last 10 years. She is due to graduate in her health science degree at the start of 2022.
Mel Tiley, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We were so sorry to learn about Charlotte’s brain tumour relapse and wish her all the best with her ongoing treatment. Her determination and incredible fundraising shows she is a very loved member of the community and we’re delighted she’s taking part in the100 Star Jumps a Day in November Challenge and wish her the best of luck!”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
To donate to Charlotte’s 100 star jump challenge, please visit www.facebook.com/donate/830229597645562/