Man with terminal brain cancer takes part in Christmas fundraiser

Imagine being told on Christmas Eve that you have an incurable brain tumour...and just months left to live.

Joshua Cullen, and pictured in Santa hats with his mum Magdi, right.
Joshua Cullen, and pictured in Santa hats with his mum Magdi, right.

That was the reality for young Boston man Joshua Cullen, 25, who was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) last year and told he had just 12-18 months to live .

Three days before, Joshua was taken by ambulance to the Queens Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham after suffering a seizure at work.

He had a CT scan and MRI scan before being discharged the next day.

Joshua's scar following his surgery - and four weeks later.

On Christmas Eve, a neurology nurse called to tell him he had a primary brain tumour in his parietal lobe.

“I was in complete shock,” said Joshua.

“My family came over to see me and we did our best to support one another and tried to enjoy Christmas, despite the terrible news I’d received.”

Joshua underwent a craniotomy to debulk the tumour in January this year. Surgeons managed to remove around 90 per cent of it.

Joshua in hospital following a seizure.

This Christmas, Joshua and his mum, Magdi Cullen, will be supporting Brain Tumour Research’s Wear a Christmas Hat Day. The fundraising event officially took place last Friday, December 17, but participants can choose to do it any day in December.

Joshua said: “Because of the timing of my diagnosis Christmas feels a bit strange now, but Mum and I will do a good Christmas dinner and we’ll have a few drinks.

“I’m just thankful that I’m still here. Brain Tumour Research and the NHS have been amazing and so supportive, I can’t thank them enough.”

After his diagnosis and treatment, Joshua needed to stop working but he has recently started a new job at Iceland Food Warehouse in Boston.

Joshua said: “Work is brilliant. I’m mainly on the checkout so I meet and talk with lots of people. It feels really good to be back at work doing something with my days.”

As reported in the Standard back in September, Joshua and his sister Maria took on the brave challenge of abseiling down the UK’s largest sculpture, the Arcelor Mittal tower in London to raise money to help find a cure for brain tumours.

Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research said: “We are very grateful to Joshua and Magdi for supporting Wear a Christmas Hat Day, and we are really pleased to hear that Joshua is doing well and enjoying his new job at Iceland.

“Joshua’s powerful story reminds us that brains tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any time. We remain focused on finding a cure to help prevent more families from having their lives turned upside-down by this terrible disease.”

To donate to Joshua’s fundraising page for Brain Tumour Research, visit