New dad welcomes baby amid brain tumour treatment

Adam Dilley with baby Alfie

Adam Dilley, who is having treatment for a brain tumour, and partner Tasha have welcomed their first child Alfie - Credit: Courtesy of Adam Dilley

A young Shefford couple is celebrating the arrival of their first born baby - just two months after dad Adam was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. 

Alfie Dilley was born at Bedford Hospital just after 9pm on December 11, 2021, weighing 7lbs 3oz.

Tasha and Adam with baby Alfie at Christmas

Tasha and Adam with baby Alfie at Christmas - Credit: Adam Dilley

Arriving eight days after his due date, the birth of baby Alfie has brought untold joy to new parents Adam, 30, and Tasha, 26, who just weeks earlier were dealt the devastating blow that Adam has a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

On October 7, Adam was rushed to A&E, after an optician discovered a mass behind his left eye.

Adam said: “I was given blood tests, a CT scan and an MRI scan, which revealed an aggressive brain tumour.

"Luckily, it was operable but they didn’t know the exact diagnosis until after my debulking surgery, which took place at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on November 1.”

The operation went well but the biopsy results confirmed his tumour was a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Only 25 per cent of GBM patients survive more than one year and just five per cent survive more than five years.

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Adam said: “My surgeon got most of the tumour but the chances are that it will return, maybe within three or four years rather than the 12 to 18 months we were first told. It gives us something to hold on to.”

Baby Alfie Dilley Shefford

Baby Alfie has given Tasha and Adam something positive to focus on during Adam's treatment - Credit: Adam Dilley

Becoming parents has also given the couple something positive to focus on. Alfie was born just two days before Adam began a six-week course of daily radiotherapy, with concurrent chemotherapy.

He finishes radiotherapy this week and will then have a month’s break before starting a longer course of higher-dose chemotherapy.

Adam said: “Thanks to Alfie, we’re not getting much sleep and my treatment makes me tired too but he is good as gold during the day and we are completely besotted with him.

Baby Alfie Dilley

Adam said he's able to spend lots of time with newborn Alfie, being unable to work during his treatment - Credit: Adam Dilley

"I’m not able to work at the moment but the positive side of that is that I’m spending lots of quality time at home bonding with Alfie. I’m counting my blessings.”

Tasha added: "Adam has been amazing throughout his treatment so far, even though he’s lost his hair and suffered with nausea. His liver function has been affected by the chemo, so that treatment has been paused for two weeks but otherwise, it’s gone as well as we could’ve hoped.”

The community continues to support the new parents by fundraising via a GoFundMe page to help cover some of the costs associated with Adam’s diagnosis.

Meanwhile, Adam’s dad, 62-year-old Mark Dilley is also supporting Brain Tumour Research by taking part in the charity’s 10,000 Steps a Day in February challenge.

Mark, who lives with his wife Wendy in Shefford, said: “I doubt I would survive a half marathon or anything as strenuous as that, so taking on this daily walking challenge is my way of contributing to this great cause.

“Alfie is our second grandchild and we are overjoyed to welcome him into the family but of course, it is bittersweet, given what Adam and Tasha are going through.

“Wendy and I are so proud of Adam. He’s coped well with treatment, all while taking on the daunting new role of being a dad."

Abacus Workplace Supplies - where Mark is a partner - is also donating £1 from every box of 50 face masks and 500ml hand sanitiser sold to Brain Tumour Research, along with all proceeds from their toner recycling scheme.

The support doesn’t stop there, as Tasha’s mum, Carol White will also be joining Mark by taking part in 10,000 Steps a Day in February.

She said: “Having read the dreadful statistics surrounding brain tumours and having found out about the severe lack of funding in this area of cancer research, I’m keen to do my bit.

“Alfie is our first grandchild; my husband Chris and I are totally in love with him. Tasha and Adam are so grounded and have taken to parenthood brilliantly. Like Mark and Wendy, we’re extremely proud of them.”

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We were delighted to hear about the safe arrival of baby Alfie and send our huge congratulations to Adam and Tasha. To find out you have a brain tumour at any time is devastating but the timing of Adam’s diagnosis is particularly cruel.

"We wish Adam all the best for the rest of his treatment and hope he gets some positive results from his forthcoming MRI scan next month.

“We thank Mark and Carol sincerely for taking part in 10,000 Steps a Day in February and send them the very best of luck. We hope they’ll inspire others to get involved in a challenge."

To donate to ‘The Fight of My Life - Adam Dilley’, go to www.gofundme.com/f/the-fight-of-my-love-adam-dilley.

To support Mark and Carol, go to facebook.com/donate/480564373415200 or facebook.com/donate/445136340668797.