A County Durham mum who lost her youngest son to a brain tumour has documented the "gruelling" nine-year journey her son endured between diagnosis and tragically passing away.

James Cooper, from Barnard Castle, died from an astrocytoma in 2020 when he was just 33 years old.

His mum, Bridget Cooper, 74, from Bishop Auckland, has now documented her son's nine years with a brain tumour as she prepares to take part in a fundraising event with her niece, Johanna Law, 54, for the charity Brain Tumour Research. 

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Bridget and Johanna will take part in The Walk of Hope at The Town Moor in Newcastle on Saturday, September 30, which will raise vital funds to enable research.

James was 24 when he was diagnosed in 2011 after having stomach pains and two seizures, which doctors at Darlington put down to epilepsy at first; he was told he may only have a few weeks to live.

The Northern Echo: Bridget and James CooperBridget and James Cooper (Image: BRAIN TUMOUR RESEARCH)

He had two operations and underwent a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

His mum Bridget has opened up about the shocking journey James had to endure from 2011 until his death in 2020. 

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She said: “When James was diagnosed, I was in total disbelief. I knew very little about brain tumours; it was hard to take in.

"James was so positive throughout, and he fought so hard, but it’s such a cruel disease.

The Northern Echo: James Cooper by the coastJames Cooper by the coast (Image: BRAIN TUMOUR RESEARCH)

"This Walk of Hope is an opportunity to give hope to others who are going through what we did. James was keen to raise awareness of brain tumours, so I think he’d be proud.”

James underwent surgery on 29 April 2011 where 90 per cent of the tumour was removed.

He then had a six-week course of radiotherapy at Royal Preston Hospital.

James went to the gym regularly to lose weight he had gained from the steroids he was on.

The Northern Echo: James CooperJames Cooper (Image: BRAIN TUMOUR RESEARCH)

He also embarked on a maths degree at the Open University.

His regular check-up scans continued to be clear until June 2018.

Bridget said: “He had six rounds of chemotherapy but it didn’t touch the tumour.

"They then tried another type of chemotherapy but it affected his platelet level, so he had to stop it.

The Northern Echo: Bridget Cooper (right) and Johanna LawBridget Cooper (right) and Johanna Law (Image: BRAIN TUMOUR RESEARCH)

"In October 2019, James had an awake craniotomy but it went badly.

"He suffered two bleeds on his brain which left him paralysed down his right-hand side. He couldn’t speak properly afterwards, and he was unable to walk or use his right hand.”

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James came out of the hospital in November 2019 and underwent intense physiotherapy, with the goal of being able to walk by Christmas.

Despite being able to walk by early 2020, another scan in January of that year revealed another tumour had grown and nothing more could be done.

His mum had described the feeling of the tumour "robbing" her son of the ability to walk and talk as "devastating". 

The Northern Echo: James Cooper before his deathJames Cooper before his death (Image: BRAIN TUMOUR RESEARCH)

She added: “He fought really hard because he wanted to get back on his feet, he was full of grit and determination.

"At the beginning of 2020, James was back on his feet and he could walk up and down the stairs. It was a massive moment, but a scan in January revealed further growth and a new tumour had grown on his motor cortex. 

"He just deteriorated; to watch him being robbed of the ability to walk and talk again was devastating.”

James died at home on May 23, 2020, with his parents by his side.