Andy's Story

Andy Blagden is a young man, married to Charlotte and has 3 children; Lauren, Katie and Nathan. (The children were 12, 9 & 2.5 years old at the time of diagnosis).
Andy was diagnosed with a tumour in his spinal cord in June 2013. The tumour was at spinal level Cervical 3 going down to Thoracic 2 (C3-T2). This is incredibly high up the neck and the only option was to operate. This in itself was not without risk but after a 15-16 hour operation the tumour had been removed. The outlook was good. Then Andy became ill....
Early September Andy contracted pneumonia and then sepsis, Andy's kidneys then failed and he was put on constant dialysis for a month and required a blood transfusion during this time.
Andy came through all this but he now lives with the consequences; paralysed from the shoulders down and unable to breathe without ventilatory support, this is his ongoing story of rehabilitation with the goal of getting back home to his family and his future.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Making the news!!

 Here is an article the local paper ran just recently:

When dad-of-three Andy Blagden felt his right hand start to seize up in an odd way, he decided he had better go to see the doctor.

The 40-year-old, who attends the Christian City Church in Cheltenham, was shocked to be told he had a massive tumour attached to his spine which needed operating on immediately.

He underwent a 16 hour surgery to remove the growth – but despite the operation being a success, complications arose which left him fighting for his life.

Now he has lost nearly all movement from the neck down, can only breathe with the help of a 24-hour ventilator and is unable to speak.

Brave Andy is now coming to terms with his new physical limitations – but has vowed he will be there for his three kids, Lauren, 13, Katie, 10, and Nathan, three, as they grow up.

Friends from the church, in Hatherley Lane, have pitched in to help him and his family as they bid to raise up to £50,000 to fit their home in Tuffley, Gloucester, with the equipment he needs to move around.

His wife Charlotte Blagden said: “It has been incredibly difficult for Andy.

“But we are so grateful for the support we have been given from friends at the church.

“Without them I don’t know what we would have done.

“They have cooked us meals to keep us going, helped us with transport and also with our finances.

“We estimate it will cost between £30,000 and £50,000 to get the equipment we want for the house so he can get around.

“We want to give him the best quality of life we can.”

Andy was diagnosed with a tumour in his spinal cord in June last year and underwent the operation at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol in August.

As he was recuperating he contracted pneumonia, then sepsis, as well as kidney failure – a combination which nearly proved fatal.

But as it is he has been robbed of nearly all of the physical attributes he had before the procedure.

Although life is now very different for the former owner of a Gloucester-based pizza company, he is working hard on his rehabilitation in a bid to make any possible gains in movement.

“We have got faith that things will get better,” added Charlotte.

“When you’re faced with something like this you can either sink or swim.

“We’ve got three kids and we need to be strong for them, so we are swimming.”

A team of 18 members of the church congregation raised £2,000 in sponsorship by taking part in a 10 km run at Westonbirt. The money will be split between Andy and another churchgoer Andy Parr, who underwent heart surgery last year.

The cheques were presented to the pair at a family barbecue at the church on Sunday.

Andy Parr, 55, who lives in Hatherley, said: “I’m so grateful. It means a lot to me and my family.

“I had to leave work for a year because of my condition so the money will be a huge help.”

Andy Brown, a member of the congregation at the church, in Hatherley Lane, said they were glad to do their bit.

“Both Andy Blagden and Andy Parr need our support because of the health issues they have been going through, which have had huge impacts on their lives,” he said.

“We are very pleased to do our bit to step in and support them in any way they can.

“We are a community church and that’s what we are here for.”

To find out more about Andy Blagden’s story and ongoing fundraising appeal go to

Read more: