Sharna Levett, 31, was pregnant with her son, Ewan, when she suffered a 10-minute seizure in which her left arm became heavy, and her body began to jolt.
Ms. Levett, from Torbay, Devon, in southwestern England, feared she was having a stroke, but was later told she had a brain tumor. Her diagnosis came just a year after losing her dad to the same disease.
"I was taken into a room with my midwife and consultant and thought to myself, 'Well, this isn’t going to be good news,'" Ms. Levett said. "They told me I had a brain tumor and that the baby saved my life.
"I think they were referring to the hormones my body was producing as part of the pregnancy, which could have spurred on the growth of the tumor causing the seizure, which alerted them I had a tumor."
Ms. Levett gave birth to Ewan by cesarean section at 39 weeks—five weeks after her diagnosis—but despite medication, her seizures continued.
She said: "I remained fully aware during my seizures, I knew I was having them but couldn’t stop them. This meant that during the first months of Ewan’s life, I couldn’t hold him as much and had to play with him on the floor. If I was moving around the house, I carried him in a sling."
When Ewan was 6 months old, Ms. Levett had an "awake craniotomy," a procedure performed on her brain while she was fully conscious. Surgeons were able to remove 40 percent of the tumor and diagnosed a "diffuse astrocytoma," a common type of tumor that can develop in the brain and spinal cord.
For two weeks after the surgery, she had temporary paralysis in her left leg, foot, arm, and hand. She completed treatments of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in March. As a side-effect, Ms. Levett experienced early menopause, as well as having difficulty with balance and coordination.
She's now being monitored by doctors with regular scans.
Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumor Research, said: "We’re incredibly grateful to Sharna for sharing her experience with us and wish her well with her skipping challenge. Sadly, her story is not unusual.
"One in three people know someone affected by a brain tumor. They kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. We’re determined to change this and it is with the support of people such as Sharna that will help us towards finding a cure for all types of brain tumors."
Ms. Levett said: "It’ll be tough, and I might need to complete the 10 minutes [challenge] over the course of the day, but I am determined to do it."