Seven's Alex Cullen becomes National Walk4BrainCancer Ambassador
Sunday Night and Seven News journalist Alex Cullen vowed not to let his family be beaten by brain cancer when his father, Tom, was diagnosed with a glioblastoma earlier this year.
Following his father's brain cancer diagnosis, Alex is committed to using his family’s story and his new role as National Walk4BrainCancer Ambassador to raise awareness of this insidious disease and encourage people across Australia to take action by joining a Walk4BrainCancer event near them this spring.
Initially, doctors believed Alex’s father, Tom, had suffered a stroke, but further scans revealed two large dark shadows on the left side of Tom’s brain, requiring him to be rushed by air to Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. The dark sposts were a glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer.
Shortly after, Alex arrived at the hospital to see his dad. “I walked up to his bed,” says Alex. “Every time we see each other we hug, but this time I couldn’t because he was lying down. He was awake and smiling and I shook his hand and bent down to hug his head and said, ‘How are ya, Dad?’ ‘Alright mate, I’m alright,” he replied.
Alex’s dad has since been through surgery to remove most of his tumour, as well as six weeks of chemo and radiotherapy. His father is also part of the VERTU clinical trial, funded by Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, which uses a new drug called Valaprib, on top of existing chemotheraphy drugs.
“No one ever thinks cancer will touch their family like this, but it does, and will continue to affect families across the world if we don’t do everything we can to stop it,” says Alex.
Despite his Dad’s prognosis, Alex has found positives in an otherwise dreadful situation. “Cancer has forced us all to take a step back, appreciate and cherish our loved ones even more. It’s taught us to break away from the daily grind and think about who and what’s important to us. As a family, we’re spending quality time together and learning to live in the moment and enjoy the ‘now’ with Dad. We know what’s in front of us and we’ll meet it together. I read a quote the other day, which said, ‘God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.’ Dad’s in the biggest battle of his life and we’re right there beside him saying what we always say: ‘We’ll be right.’ And I’d like to think we will be.”
Alex Cullen is the national ambassador for Cure Brain Cancer Foundation’s annual Walk4BrainCancer events.