The family of a County Durham grandad of four who died of an exploding tumour have opened up about the 'horrific situation' to help prevent others from going through similar devastation.
Amie Beck, 14, from Durham, was heartbroken to lose her grandad, whom she referred to as ‘Giya’, to a glioblastoma in December 2022.
Chris Beck, from Leadgate, County Durham, had just turned 70 when the orange-sized mass was discovered in July 2022.
It followed warning signs, including struggling to write coherently and suddenly forgetting how to drive – despite working as a contract driver taking vulnerable children to and from school.
Amie said: “My grandad was my ‘Giya’. That’s what I called him when I was really little and couldn’t pronounce letters properly, but it stuck.
"Giya was thrilled with it because it meant he didn’t sound too old. We were incredibly close, I had countless trips to Scarborough on holiday with him and my grandma and went to their house after school and most weekends, but suddenly, everything changed.”
Chris, a father-of-two and grandfather-of-four, had a craniotomy to debulk the tumour in August, at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Despite removing 98 per cent of it, the surgeon said the cancer had “gone off like a paint gun”, leaving irretrievable cancer cells scattered throughout his brain.
Due to how aggressive the cancer was, chemotherapy and radiotherapy were not considered viable options to extend or improve the quality of Chris’ life.
Amie said: “The doctors basically told him there was nothing they could do, and he had to go home to die.”
At the time, Amie was on holiday in Florida with her dad Laurence, mum Gemma, and brothers Stuart, 22, Ethan, 12, and sister Lily-Mae, nine.
She added: “By the time we got home from Florida in August, Giya already had undergone this massive brain operation and was left with two black marks around his eyes.
"Seeing him like that was a big shock and nothing like I would have ever expected, so understandably I burst out crying as soon as Giya couldn’t see me.
"He couldn’t walk properly, or function like he used to, but he smiled for a photograph with me in the hospital canteen, which I will treasure forever.”
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After returning home, Chris’ health continued to decline.
He became unable to walk and ended up bedbound, barely able to move his head due to swelling.
He died on December 1, 2022, less than six months after being diagnosed.
“It all happened so quickly. I don’t want anyone else my age to see someone they love dearly in the state that I saw my Giya.
"Glioblastoma is a horrific illness that decays a person piece by piece and we desperately need more funding to find a cure,” Amie added.
Chris’ family is now supporting the charity Brain Tumour Research to help reach 100,000 signatures on its petition to increase research funding, in the hope of prompting a parliamentary debate.
The family also raised £640 for the charity with a coffee morning, and Chris’ son Laurence, said: “Dad’s illness was such a shock to us all, especially myself and my brother Jordan.
"We couldn’t believe how quickly he declined. It’s a very cruel, debilitating cancer. Amie was so close to her grandad and was really passionate about helping this cause.
"She spoke at Dad’s funeral and it was incredibly heartfelt, she speaks as somebody much older than her years.”