New chapter for brain tumour man after 24 years of treatment

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Richard Hughes (right) with his fiance Ffion.

An Anglesey man who survived a brain tumour as a newborn baby has undergone his 16th and final operation.

Richard Hughes, 24, from Newborough, says he is beginning “a new chapter” in his life after surgeons at Aintree Hospital, in Liverpool, installed an implant to support the structure of his forehead.

Fourteen of the 16 operations Richard has had to undergo during his life have been reconstructive procedures, after he pulled through a life-saving operation at just six-months old to remove a tumour. His story is told in an upcoming S4C documentary O’r Galon: Tu Ôl i’r Graith, on Tuesday evening, March 29.

Richard, a support worker who helps disabled adults and adults with mental health disorders, said: “You get used to the operations really. It’s a strange thing to go through and it’s never easy, but it’s an odd felling that they’re no longer going to be a part of my life. I’ve known some of the doctors since I was six months old and they have been a part of my life. Now it feels like the start of a new chapter in my life.”

Throughout his childhood and teenage years, Richard was bullied for his appearance and the scars that surgery had left on his face. He believes those experiences encouraged him to work in the social care sector.

Richard, who recently moved to Caernarfon with his fiancée Ffion, added: “When I was 15, 16, I’d go to Bangor on a Saturday afternoon with my friends and people would just look. Some would even want to fight me, thinking I was some kind of a boxer because my nose was bent.

“I’ve been bullied and been called names and I’m using that now to help other people through their hard times. I enjoy helping people, even simple things like going out to the shops for them – even that makes a difference to people.

He hopes the programme will help people understand more about what someone like him has to live with.

Richard explained, “I’ve had a lot of people stare at me but I’d have preferred them to come up to ask me what was wrong. Having people stare at me and call me names was part of day-to-day life for me. These experiences have definitely made me a stronger person.”

O’r Galon: Tu Ôl i’r Graith, can be seen on Tuesday, March 29, at 8.25pm  on S4C with English subtitles.