Brave Andy recovers from a brain tumour and is now a Half Marathon hero

Date published: 02 November 2018

Uppermill's Andy Plowright suffered a brain tumour at the age of 40, one which left him unable to walk and with part of his skull missing.

However, largely thanks to help from Physio Matters, the specialist neurological physiotherapists based in Failsworth, brave Andy has bounced back heroically by recently completing the Manchester Half Marathon and raising nearly £1,700 for The Brain Tumour Charity.

A dad of three young boys, Andy’s operation to remove his brain tumour in 2015 involved removing a portion of his skull, and was followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

The treatment left Andy with difficulties moving his hands and feet, and unable to walk.

Following intensive rehabilitation with Physio Matters, Andy learned how to stand and walk again, indoors at first and then eventually outdoors.

Balance and strength work followed until Andy recovered his stamina and improved his walking ability, until he was able to walk from Uppermill to Greenfield to catch the train to work in Manchester.

To further improve his fitness, Andy joined Greenfield Greyhounds, a running club for beginners which helps people build up to running a 5k, and then progress to 10ks, half marathons and further. 

“Running the half marathon was a brilliant experience,” said Andy.

“I was dreading it on the start line but ended up absolutely loving it. It just felt good the whole way round.

"I hadn’t run more than 10 miles before so I can’t quite believe I had so much in the tank.

“I had a really good friend running with me, Dr Nadhim Bayatti, who helped keep me safe in the chaos of the first and last few miles.

"My plan was to run it in under 2 hours 30 minutes, so I was delighted to finish even faster in 2 hours 10 minutes.

"I was reeling people in with a big smile on my face for the last mile or two!”

Colin Green, Clinical Director of Physio Matters, said: “We are really proud of all that Andy has achieved.

"I’ve always been impressed by his determination and positive attitude.

"As his physio team, it has been very rewarding to see how much he has improved and how hard he has worked during his rehabilitation to get to this point.

"He’s a real inspiration and I’m delighted with his success.”

Before and after: Andy's gruesome post-op pic (left), and then climbing high during his rehab programme

Colin, a keen ultra-runner, also set up Greenfield Greyhounds in 2011 to introduce absolute beginners to running as a hobby and sport.

The club has helped over 500 people to start running.

Andy has already signed up for the next Manchester Half Marathon, as well as the Liverpool Half Marathon, and hopes his example can help others in their rehabilitation journey.

Andy said: “Words can't express my gratitude for what Colin and his brilliant team have done for me since my brain surgery.

"They are such a friendly, knowledgeable and professional bunch.

"I've gone from cautiously shuffling around my living room to training for a half marathon thanks to the care I've received and the customised rehab plans and exercises they've provided.

“I hope my run can motivate other people who have had a similar life-changing illness or injury.

“Thanks to Physio Matters, I’ve been able to improve my mobility so much.

"Rehabilitation is hard work but if I can do it after what happened to me, then anyone can. I’ve learnt there is still a lot you can achieve – just give it a go!”

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