With less than a fortnight until their due date, Adam Dilley and his partner Tasha White should have been experiencing the excitement of becoming parents for the first time.
But instead the couple were trying to come to terms with the fact Adam, 30, has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour.
And it was only after his Biggleswade optician discovered a mass behind his left eye that he was rushed to Bedford Hospital.
He said: “I’d been suffering from severe headaches for about four months and they were getting worse and worse.
"I was also experiencing blurred vision. I’d called NHS 111, been to hospital and spoken to my GP a number of times and was being treated for sinusitis but as I got increasingly concerned about my symptoms, I kept phoning the surgery insisting on a face-to-face appointment.
"Eventually, the doctor told me to make an appointment with the optician, which I did.”
Adam went to Specsavers in October, where the optician was ‘extremely distressed’ to discover a mass behind Adam’s left eye.
He was sent straight to A&E, where he was given blood tests, a CT scan and an MRI scan, which revealed an aggressive brain tumour.
Tasha said: “We couldn’t believe what we were hearing. Although they couldn’t tell us at that stage what type of tumour it was, they said it looked like something ‘nasty’. Neither of us had previously had any experience of the disease and had no idea what it all meant but it was scary, especially knowing that we had a baby on the way.”
This month, Adam underwent brain surgery at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Although the operation went well - the biopsy results confirmed his tumour was a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme.
Adam said: “My surgeon said he got most of the tumour but the chances are that it will return, maybe within three or four years rather than the 12 to 18 months we were first told. It gives us something to hold on to.”
The next stage of Adam’s cancer treatment will be a six-week course of daily radiotherapy at Addenbrooke’s, with concurrent chemotherapy.
And while the couple come to terms with all this, they are preparing for the arrival of their first baby – a little boy – due on December 3.
Tasha said: “In many ways, the timing couldn’t be worse but on the other hand, the baby is giving us something positive to focus on and we’re so excited to meet him now.”
Meanwhile, the community in Shefford - where Adam and Tasha grew up - has rallied to support the expectant parents by fundraising.
Tasha said: “We’ve got a mortgage, bills to pay, and a new baby to think about but Adam obviously isn’t able to work at the moment and I’m on maternity leave. Adam is a contractor, so isn’t entitled to sick pay and I am self-employed too. It’s a worry.
“When we discovered that family friends had set up a GoFundMe page to help us out financially, we were so touched and are extremely grateful for every single person who has donated or shared the page to help raise awareness. The response has been overwhelming.”