Sheffield university student to complete studies six months after being diagnosed with brain cancer

A Sheffield Hallam University student is set to complete his final year of study six months after being diagnosed with stage four cancer.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 11:33 am
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 11:48 am

Jacob Whitehead, aged 22, was on a placement year at a software company in Sheffield when he started experiencing severe headaches.

The computer science undergraduate was admitted to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield where the tumour was first detected.

Jacob said: “It was a bit of a surreal feeling, I didn’t know how to react. The appointment where they informed me was pretty difficult. I was thinking about the future and what my life was going to be like.

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Jacob Whitehead rings a bell outside Proton Beam Therapy Centre in Manchester to mark the end of the first phase of his treatment.

“Within a couple of days, I came to the revelation that I can’t just sit here, I’ve got to do things that will give me the best chance of living as long as possible.”

Jacob underwent surgery at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and spent a week in intensive care, before returning to his family home in Cheshire.

Two weeks later he was called in for an appointment and told the growth found on his brain was a Glioblastoma – a rare and incurable type of tumour.

Since the diagnosis Jacob has received treatment at The Christies Foundation in Manchester.

Jacob plans to complete his Computer Science degree at Sheffield Hallam university before travelling the world.

A group of his closest friends set up a Just Giving page to raise funds for a once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world. To date the page has raised nearly £30,000 from over 1,000 separate donations.

Jacob added: “The original goal of raising £5,000 was filled within an hour. The next £15,000 target got filled within a few days. I was just in disbelief someone would do that for me, looking at the money that had been raised. I’m going to spend this year planning out the trip.”

Prior to travelling the world, Jacob has set his sights on finishing his degree. He added: “[I’m] looking forward to my course – I also learnt so much from my placement, I’m so excited to put that experience into practice. It’ll be great to go on nights out and things like that.”

Jacob’s latest brain scan in September showed no signs of the cancer regrowing, although sadly his condition is terminal. He will now be on a six-month course of chemotherapy and is set for a follow up scan in November.

Jacob is now on a six month course of chemotherapy.