Rugby-playing officers from the Force will be taking part in a charity 7s tournament this weekend in honour of Fed member DC Dave Stubbs, who is living with a brain tumour.

Staffordshire Police Men’s Rugby Team will be up against seven fellow teams on Sunday (11 September) as they help to raise money for national charity Brain Tumour Support.

Their fundraising efforts come just a year after DC Stubbs, a 43-year-old father-of-one, was given the devastating news that he had a brain tumour.

“This news was absolutely devastating and completely floored me. I had gone from a split second from a hard-working guy with a whole future mapped out to realising very quickly that my life would never be the same again for me or my family,” says Dave.

Following an MRI scan, Dave was told that the only treatment was surgery, and surgery that came with a lot of risks.

“To try to get my head around the need for surgery, I tried to imagine how big the tumour was. It was only when my wife went around the kitchen with a ruler and realised the tumour was actually the size of a satsuma, I came to terms with the fact that surgery was the only option if I was to have any chance of survival,” added Dave.

In September last year, Dave underwent major surgery during which it was discovered that the tumour had wrapped itself around the main vein in his brain which meant not all of the tumour could be removed.

“The biopsy showed that it was a Grade 1 Meningioma and because there was only a small big left behind, other treatment options would now be available if the tumour started to grow again,” explained Dave, who was told that he had been living with the tumour for between nine and 15 years.

As well as receiving constant support from Staffordshire Police Federation, Dave has also spent time at the Police Treatment Centre in Auchterarder, Scotland. Additionally, he has been regularly supported by Brain Tumour Support, the charity this weekend’s 7s tournament will be raising money for.

“The charity provides support to anyone affected by a brain tumour, at any point from the diagnosis and for as long as support is needed. It not only supports the patients themselves but also families, carers and loved ones who are dealing with the day-to-day impact of a brain tumour,” said Dave.

“The charity provides specialist, tailor-made services through one-to-one and group support as well as online and telephone support and specialist counselling.

“It has also given me a new lease of life by fundraising for it, of which my force has been very supportive and allowed me to do such work.”

By sharing his experience, Dave is also hoping to raise awareness of brain tumour symptoms and the impact a brain tumour can have on a person’s life. 

“Looking back over the last nine years a number of things now make sense to me and I realise I had been displaying symptoms for some time,” said Dave, who explained he had experienced regular headaches, felt tired but struggled to sleep and saw a change in his personality. 

“I would often rant in emails. I had pins and needles in my thigh which I used to pin down to nerve damage following an earlier injury. 

“I gained a large amount of weight and had problems with my vision. The symptoms of the tumour are symptoms of so many other conditions which I was able to explain away. Little did I know, there was a tumour growing inside my skull, slowly killing me.

“The shock of being told I had a brain tumour was devastating. My whole life was torn apart in that split second. I had never felt so scared and helpless in my whole life.”

Since having surgery, Dave admits everyday life has changed dramatically for him.

“Although I look physically well and healthy the impact on my day-to-day life is massive and the issues are not always obvious to other people,” says Dave, who explains that his energy levels are now very low, he still struggles to lie down and he finds conversation draining.

“Following surgery, I had to surrender my driving licence so straight away I lost my independence. I have to take numerous tables each day and I need help from my wife to make sure I take the right ones at the right time as I am now easily confused.

“One of the worst things is I can’t play fight with my nine-year-old son or wrestle with him anymore.”

However, being diagnosed with a brain tumour has caused Dave to slow down and appreciate the people around him more.

He said: “I have become much closer to my family who have been amazing. My marriage is stronger and my wife, Rachel, tells me that my personality has gone back to what it was eight years ago. And my son has been a superstar throughout all of this.”

The Rugby 7s Tournament will be taking place this Sunday (11 September) at Stafford RUFC. The gates open at 10am, with the tournament starting at 12 noon and finishing at 6pm.

Find out more about Brain Tumour Support charity.