A UK man’s life took an unexpected twist when an undiagnosed brain tumor transformed him into a semi-pro goalkeeper, standing at an impressive 6 feet 6 inches with hands resembling mitts.
Tom Mayor, 34, always attributed his towering stature to genetics, considering his family’s predisposition to being tall.
“I was always taller than my friends but never freakishly tall, my brother is 6-foot-2 — so is my dad,” Mayor told SWNS.
Even in his youth, his hands were noticeably large, saying they occasionally swelled up like a pack of large sausages.
The combination of height and massive hands paved the way for Mayor to become a semi-pro goalie, gracing the fields with his talent at Northampton Town F.C. and the Leicester City Football Club Youth Academy.
Mayor’s life took an unexpected turn in 2014 while he was working as a soccer coach in the US.
Migraines began plaguing him, leading to a medical scan that revealed an undetected brain tumor.
Compounding the problem, Mayor was also diagnosed with a rare growth hormone disorder known as acromegaly, a condition famously portrayed by the James Bond villain Jaws.
Medical experts believe that the hidden tumor likely triggered the acromegaly, responsible for Mayor’s towering height and large hands.
Reflecting on his journey, Mayor shared that his sporty upbringing and active childhood had subjected him to numerous concussions and injuries.
Now a National Health Service program manager, Mayor is commemorating that a decade has passed since his initial surgery by undertaking a unique challenge.
He aims to cover 6 miles every day for 10 months, combining running, walking, swimming, and cycling to raise awareness and funds for brain tumor research.
Recalling the onset of his health issues, Mayor described a persistent headache, comparing it to a perpetual hangover.
“The only way to describe it is like a pressure headache pressing by my eyes, like a constant push right on my forehead — it’s there 24/7, seven days a week, and I have had that for 10 years,” Mayor said.
The headache, caused by a pituitary tumor, has become a constant companion, with medical professionals suggesting it might persist for the rest of his life.
Mayor’s journey involves managing the complications from his first surgery (which removed part of the tumor), including diabetes insipidus, which causes excessive thirst.
Despite the challenges, Mayor remains resilient, emphasizing the need for early diagnosis and treatment to mitigate the impact of brain tumors on individuals’ lives.
“If people could get diagnosed and treated earlier, they wouldn’t have to go through this… awareness is what you need, and if I can do a little bit to raise awareness, that is great,” Mayor said.
“I am not one to sit on my arse and think how tough my life has been — I call it my tumorversary because I celebrate the fact I got my diagnosis because I wouldn’t be who I am now,” he added.