Read Gary

Read Gary's Story

Sun 03 May

I’m Gary Fordham (43 years old next week). I live with my 12-year-old son, Hayden, in Low Moor Bradford. We are both Leeds United season ticket holders.

I was diagnosed with a brain tumour following a motorway accident I had on New Year’s Eve 2018, when travelling home from a Christmas visit to my parents in Swindon. I’d had a seizure and blacked out at the wheel of my works van. The van was a write-off. My boy was in the passenger seat and had the presence of mind to phone the emergency services, who cut me free from the van when they arrived at the scene. We were both lucky to be alive.


I first became aware of Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity in March 2019 when researching brain tumour information online. The first monthly support group meeting I attended was in the April, just before having my golf ball sized tumour debulked in awake surgery later that month.


Unfortunately, my skull then got infected and I underwent another operation to partially remove it. I am currently awaiting a titanium plate to be fitted and I've still not had all my treatment. I've now been given the news that they believe I've had a minor stroke, so I am going through tests before they will operate again on me. Fingers crossed all goes smoothly, but with Covid-19 my appointments are all being cancelled.


Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity has been a great help to me ever since, being my only means of support. I always cherish the monthly meetings and have met new friends going through similar experiences. The counselling sessions with Paula Dalton have been particularly helpful in my recovery and thinking about the future.


I now really need to be doing something for my bank account and my mind! My brain tumour has left me with a lot of fatigue and my mind feels under pressure, so I’ve been thinking of starting a business from home. 


So here is my idea. Printing merchandise. 


I’m hoping that over the longer term I can build the business up to a position where I become financially independent with no help from others. 


In the interim it is definitely helping to focus the mind and keep me occupied during the current lockdown. Currently I have Hayden home from school and he is helping, as always, with ideas.


I’m not good at asking for help, but I am hoping YBTC and Number 31 will take some of my merchandise and tell other people about my venture. Just spreading the word to colleagues and contacts for businesses and family gifts will help me to get started.


The business is still in its infancy. I've only recently purchased the equipment and there are so many things to consider like:


. what range of merchandise to manufacture e.g. Mugs, Flasks, Key Rings, T-Shirts etc.

. what to reproduce on an item e.g. photos, logos, club emblems etc.

. who to target in terms of marketing and how e.g. social media platforms, website, flyers etc.. 

. incurred costs and profit margin

. sustainability


Much to do and think about.


I would like to donate money back to YBTC from items I sell through them. It is early days and I am going to try make more worthy donations from the whole business, if I can get it to work.


As I really appreciate what YBTC has done for me and others, it would be good to see the charity grow as well. I really can't thank YBTC enough, as well as the friends I've made through them, the LGI, NHS and counselling with Paula. I have my MRI every 6 months, I am forward thinking, I keep positive and I look to the future.


I do find things tough, although I realise I'm lucky that things are going so well and that there are many others who are not so fortunate and who have much tougher times than me.


I'm someone who likes to crack on not matter how tough things get. I've been through enough in my life and won't let anything stop me looking for good times again.


I've had a tough time trying to keep everything running smoothly as a single parent, whilst getting my rest and fighting on through bad days, shopping, school trips and preparing tea for us. Just general parenting skills really! Many lessons to learn and mistakes to be made and issues to overcome but that's what keeps me going.


Hayden has really helped me to keep focused. He's my little rock and I'd like to create a business maybe he could get involved with. That's my dream anyway.

View a range of Gary's merchandise below...




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