Pyjama Party is now ON! We had some eager supporters who held their fundraising PJ spin cycle class before our two weeks of fundraising kicked off – and had a fantastic time in the process.

Fran Mauri and Julie Stoner share a love of exercise, both being regulars at indoor cycling sessions at CychoCycle in London. They have also both faced neuro conditions this year and have undergone treatment at The National Hospital. The great news is that Fran and Julie are now well on the way to recovery, so they and staff at CychoCycle decided to support our annual Pyjama Party event.CychoCycle Director Sara Spencer, who hosted the Pyjama Party: “Fran and Julie are such lovely women and loyal CychoCycle customers. We were desperately worried for them both with what they have had to face and delighted and relieved to see them doing so well now. We wanted to do something to support The National Brain Appeal as our way of saying thank you to the hospital where they received such good treatment. Indoor cycling in pyjamas was seemed like the perfect way to raise money and we had such a brilliant time too. All class fees have been donated to the charity and we’re encouraging everyone to donate to our JustGiving page. We’ve nearly topped our goal of £1,000 now. It was great to get publicity in the local press and also in the national press as our fundraiser was featured in The Sunday Mirror!

“Knowing I would need brain surgery was terrifying”

Fran recently underwent major brain surgery to remove a tumour. She’d been experiencing extreme fatigue for the last five years and a dull ache and numbness around her cheekbone. She was referred for scans which revealed a brain tumour pressing on her brain stem. It was diagnosed as an acoustic neuroma – a benign tumour that grows on the nerve used for hearing and balance.

“I really wasn’t prepared for the shock of hearing the diagnosis,” she says. “At least it gave me an explanation for my symptoms, but knowing I would need brain surgery was terrifying.”

Fran’s consultant neurosurgeon, Neil Kitchen, explained that were risks associated with the operation including hearing loss and possible facial paralysis.

The operation took place last month and after 24 hours on the High Dependency Unit, Fran was moved back to the Molly Lane Fox Unit, the dedicated ward for patients with brain tumours. “The nurses were amazing, so lovely and vigilant,” she says. “And the physios were very impressed with me and said the work I had done at CychoCycle leading up to the operation stood me in good stead for a speedy recovery.”

The persistent fatigue that Fran had been experiencing for so long had completely gone. She said, “Three weeks after the operation I can truly say that I feel better than I have in years.”

“I was actually relieved to be admitted to The National Hospital”

Julie also had a tough year after having episodes of retinal migraine, which causes brief attacks of blindness or visual problems like flashing lights. After a bad episode she ended up in hospital and had a scan which revealed a cerebral aneurysm. This carries a risk of rupturing and causing bleeding on the surface of the brain, known as subarachnoid haemorrhage.

Julie was transferred to The National Hospital where she was put on medication and then had a procedure called endovascular coiling. The coils prevent blood flowing into the aneurysm to reduce the risk of it growing or rupturing. The procedure was a success.

Four months later, however, she had a stroke. Once again, Julie found herself again at The National Hospital, this time on the Stroke Unit. Julie has been having physiotherapy, speech and language and occupational therapy since being discharged home.

Julie says, “The care I had at The National Hospital was brilliant. After my stroke I was relieved to be back there as I knew I was in the right place. Now, my life is pretty much back to normal.”

It’s never too late to have your own Pyjama Party fundraiser – sign up now!