A COVENTRY resident, who has had 30 brain surgeries, is taking part in a 10,000 Steps a Day in February Challenge to help find a cure for brain tumours.
Jessica Fukuchi, a freelance journalist originally from Cleveland, Tennessee, USA, was 13 when she was diagnosed with a low-grade astrocytoma.
Results from scans found intense pressure behind Jessica’s eyes and an MRI scan days later revealed the devastating news that there was a mass on her brain, and she would need surgery.
The location of Jessica’s tumour meant that one of the risks of removing the brain tumour was paralysis.
Jessica said: “Receiving my diagnosis was scary and I didn’t fully understand what was going on at the time.
“But when it did start to sink in I took myself to the bathroom and started crying – it was the release I needed.”
In January 2001, Jessica was fitted with a shunt to drain the build-up of excess fluid on her brain and during the same month, she had a further three procedures to ensure the shunt was working efficiently.
Now, at the age of 33, Jessica has had a total of 30 brain surgeries to correct malfunctions and blockages of the shunt which she will live with for the rest of her life.
Jessica moved to Coventry in 2018 with her husband, Marcos, an engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, she had her last surgery at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire in January of the same year, after her shunt malfunctioned.
Alongside writing a book to help raise awareness of the impact of living with a brain tumour, Jessica is taking on her second fundraising event for Brain Tumour Research and has already inspired family and friends in America to join in with the 10,000 Steps a Day in February Challenge.
Jessica added: “Brain tumour researchers need sustainable funding, so that a cure can be found for the disease.
“Had it not been for the tireless efforts that go into brain tumour research, I probably wouldn’t be here today.”
Mel Tiley, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are very grateful to Jessica for sharing her story and wish her well as she continues to live with her brain tumour.
“We’re delighted to have her support for 10,000 Steps a Day to fund vital research to find a cure for brain tumours.”
Visit www.facebook.com/donate/1368619970258794 to donate.