Blackpool man blinded by deadly brain tumour can see girlfriend for first time after surgeons save his sight

A 24-year-old man who was blinded after being diagnosed with a deadly brain tumour and fighting back from the brink of death four times can once again take in the world around him thanks to surgeons at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 10:57 am

Nathan Cummings, of Braemar Walk, was left in the dark for a year after he was blinded by cataracts, which developed as a result of the intense chemotherapy he needed to treat the grade 4 malignant tumour discovered in his brain in 2019.

He feared he would never see again - but is now free to live an independent lifestyle once more, after doctors at Blackpool Victoria Hospital managed to restore the vision in his right eye in a major operation last week.

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Nathan Cummings has had his sight restored in one eye after being totally blind for a year

As well as being able to enjoy the little things many of us take for granted, such as reading a book or watching a film, Nathan was finally able to see his girlfriend, Samantha Maywood, for the first time, as the pair began dating after the former Blackpool and The Fylde College student lost his sight.

He said: "It was like I was walking through a fire. It was like my eyes were full of smoke, clouding my vision. I couldn't really see anything. It had been like that for about a year.

"At first it wasn't too bad. I could still see a bit. But as time went on, it got worse and worse.

"I couldn't do anything on my own. Oher people could go out on their own, visit their friends and family - I couldn't do any of that. It affected me every day. I had a few falls off curbs, and because I'm over six feet tall I had a way to go. I had someone come out and train me to use a cane, so that helped me a lot.

Nathan with his grandma and grandad, Anne and Bob Cummings.

"It feels great to have my sight back. I couldn't believe it at first. I can actually go to the cinema with my girlfriend now and do thing I wasn't able to before.

"It has been a difficult few years, but it hasn't all been terrible. I've had a bit of fun on the way. Hopefully in a few weeks my vision in my right eye will improve even more. My left eye won't ever recover now. That's completely blind."

Nathan was diagnosed with cancer three years ago after falling suddenly ill, dropping more than a stone in weight in just four weeks. A scan revealed the tumour, which had been growing for years inside his brain, and had already reached the most dangerous, grade 4 stage.

During 2020 he underwent two intense rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy at the Christie in Manchester, which saved his life at the cost of his eyesight.

He also battled sepsis and meningitis twice, and was diagnosed with Covid-19 while undergoing treatment at the Vic shortly after Christmas.

Home at last, he had now completed his treatment and must report to hospital every three months for a scan to make sure the tumour has not spread.

His mum AnnaHale, 42, of Moonstone Crescent, said: "Nathan isn't cured. But he has scans every three months, and at the moment he is stable.

"The past two years have been difficult for Nathan. He's been training with a cane; he's had to change his life in so many ways and that has been hard for him to do. But he's coped with it really well. He has carers in four times a day to help him with tasks, and he's got a lot of support from his grandma, me, and everyone else. He's taken it all in his stride.

"For the past two years, he has been hit with illness after illness, and it's only in the past few months that he's started living his life again. He's spent two years in hospital. Now he's finally getting his life back, and his eyesight as well.

"He saw his girlfriend for the first time. They've been together about eight months, but it's the first time he's ever been able to see her. She's given him so much to live for.

"We honestly didn't think Nathan would be here today. The tumour was so aggressive. But he's here. Now we have just got to take life day by day."

Nathan said: "My family and my girlfriend have kept me going. I never wanted to let them down or see them upset. I didn't want to see my relationships fall apart. I had to stay strong for them.

"I'd like to thank Blackpool Victoria Hospital and the Christie doctors. They are the ones who helped me survive. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for them."

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