This is Neil's Story
Neil went from having the time of his life to having the fight of his life.
In 2012 tragedy struck. Neil was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a fast growing, malignant cancer that had taken the form of a plum sized tumour in Neil’s brain. By the time the tumour was discovered the cancer had already spread to Neil’s spinal cord.
This is where Neil's story began.
At the beginning of July 2012 Neil started working for TED Leisure in Crete’s Sensatori Resort as a Children's Sports Coordinator. Loving his new life, Neil was enjoying making new friends, getting a suntan and creating lifelong memories! Having suffered head and neck pain for several months, Neil was taken to hospital in Crete where he was told to return to the UK as a matter of urgency.
In the days that followed, Neil flew home where he remained in hospital awaiting MRI scans to identify the cause of his pain. Neil was diagnosed with a brain tumour on 24th August 2012.
Neil's life changed forever that day, as did his family's. The news was a complete shock, how could a 19 year old Personal Trainer have cancer? Neil was the fittest member of our family and led a very healthy, active lifestyle.
Neil underwent very harsh treatment regimes, including brain and spinal surgery, that robbed him of his independence by removing his ability to walk, use his hands, see and speak. This however only served to strengthen Neil's determination; he remained positive and undeterred despite the many setbacks. Neil created a video to share with you all, showing a glimpse of his journey whilst battling cancer. This video was released in July 2014 as Neil was nearing the completion of his 600 mile static cycle ride in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.
After a lengthy fight against cancer, Neil sadly passed away peacefully on 20th April 2015 at home with us, his devoted family beside him. In the days preceding Neil's passing, we were able to read farewell messages to Neil, received from loved ones, friends and supporters that had followed his story. We were fortunate enough to receive the first published copy of Neil's memoir, Powerful Beyond Measure, in time to read it as a family for the first time to Neil. Neil slipped away to the voices of his family reaffirming what a positive difference he had made to thousands of people’s lives around the world.
The heartfelt tributes read at Neil's Celebration of Life left a parting message to his family, close friends, supporters and followers; "capture every opportunity, chase your dreams and live every day as if it's your last". This will serve as Neil’s lasting legacy to those that loved him, to young cancer sufferers and to those in a time of need.
To find out more about Neil and see who supported Neil and the work that Neil did to help others in his fundraising, please follow these links.
Made by Neil Vines. Released 2nd July 2014.
Filmed on our family weekend to Croyde. 31st May 2014.
In Neil's own words, "this is my video of my journey through cancer and I would like you all to take inspiration from it and realise that cancer might hit you hard but, through sheer determination, you can fight back harder", (Neil Vines, 2nd July 2014).
Take a look at Neil’s inspirational videos and please share his incredible story. We hope they give you strength.