A STUDENT was diagnosed with a brain tumour just two days before he was due to graduate after being wrongly treated for depression.

Charlie Pearson is now backing efforts to raise awareness of brain tumours after his symptoms were initially put down to depression, fatigue and even heatstroke.

The 22-year-old, from Hockley, suffered a seizure in July last year, shortly before the planned ceremony to celebrate his graduation from the University of Leicester with a first-class degree in international relations.

Doctors at Basildon Hospital said the seizure was caused by heatstroke, but after suffering a second seizure the following day, Charlie was rushed by ambulance to Southend Hospital where a CT scan revealed he had a brain tumour the size of a golf ball. He underwent surgery to remove the tumour, which was growing in his frontal lobe - the part of the brain which controls personality.

Charlie said: “I was in denial as I just couldn’t believe what was happening to me.

“As I lay in hospital waiting for my scan results, I thought I could still make it out to attend my graduation.

“I had my outfit planned and I was so looking forward to it. But when I received that diagnosis, everything I had planned to do in my life felt like it had been altered.”

“I then truly understood the gravity of my situation.”

After his surgery, Charlie had problems recovering his speech and his mobility, contracted a wound infection and underwent a second emergency operation to remove a piece of bone from his skull.

Charlie now has regular MRI scans to monitor him. He may have to undergo radiotherapy if the tumour returns, but Charlie is determined to live life to the full in the meantime.

He was able to celebrate his academic success at a deferred graduation ceremony earlier this month.

He said: “More awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours both among the public and the medical community could have made a huge difference to me.

“As an outgoing person, my symptoms were so out of character of my usual behaviour too.

“There isn’t a day which goes by when I don’t think about the tumour, diagnosis and what I have been through but you just have to learn to live with it.”

Charlie is supporting HeadSmart, The Brain Tumour Charity’s campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of brain tumours in children and young adults.

Go to headsmart.org.uk.