A WOKING man is appealing for help as he battles brain cancer.

Istvan Varga, 40, has lived with cancer for almost 10 years, but the recent discovery of multiple new lesions areas of damaged or abnormal tissue – has driven him to a fundraising campaign.

“My family and I have reached the point where we need extra help,” Istvan said. “Cancer treatments and therapies are expensive, and recovery takes time.

“I’m fundraising to help cover conventional and complementary cancer treatments, travel to the hospital and assistance with covering our rent and bills while I’m out of work.

“I have a beautiful girl, Daisy, 5, and a great boy, Steven, 8. My wife, Noemi, is a wonderful woman I love more than words can describe. She is my rock and gives me strength every day.

“There is hope, and I would be so grateful for help.”

Istvan’s first encounter with cancer was in November 2012, when a diagnosis of skin cancer led to the removal of a large mole, and a second, related, operation four months later.

Despite his good recovery, doctors found two tiny deposits on Istvan’s chest, requiring further surgery three years later.

Just as life seemed to be returning to normal, a routine MRI scan picked up something small again, this time in his brain.

A further scan revealed metastatic melanoma with brain metastasis – meaning that the cancer had spread from the primary site.

 “It shocked my family and me,” Istvan said. “I had to have targeted therapy, and I started monthly immunotherapy for a period of two years.

“The treatment kept me cancer free, and by June of last year there was no evidence of disease on my scan in June last year.

 “But my wife and I contracted COVID not long after, which became a huge burden for my immune system for about three months.

“Then in September came what I feared would happen, a scan showed a new metastasis. Hospital visits became more frequent and then two months ago, after another series of scans, life-changing news: eight new lesions.”

Now Istvan faces a future that is, at best, uncertain.

“Doctors have told me I have reached the point where most probably I have less to live than more,” he said. “It broke me into pieces, but it also taught me one of the most important lessons.

“Listen inwards to how I feel, not outward to what I hear. God is living in all of us and everything is happening for a reason. I had to change a lot of my perspective, how I see and feel about things.

“I have been given a beautiful family, so I must get up and shake off this bad dream. I am fighting while my heart beats. Starting the GoFundMe page was a shout for help.”

Istvan, a security system engineer, had full-brain radiotherapy over five days last week at Guy’s Cancer Centre in London, each session lasting some 20 minutes.

Initially, the side effects were hideous.

“On the Monday I hadn’t been given any steroids and I went through hell during the night. It felt like my brain had become hot lava or the sun itself. It was the first time we could not cover up the events from the children.

“My wife explained to them that daddy had a treatment in the hospital and needed quiet time as he had something in his head that we had to get rid of. They were scared, but they managed to go to bed.

“Thankfully I was then given steroids, so the rest of the treatments were relatively smooth. The regeneration takes some time, but the body is doing what it is meant to do, healing itself.”

With the treatments taking their toll, Istvan is increasingly leaning on his GoFundMe appeal, which stands at just over £12,000.

“We try to use the fund for what we can,” he said. “I didn’t believe we would get this far.

“The support and generosity of family, friends and people around us, even those who I don't even know, is immeasurable. It’s very emotional and I have tears of gratitude in my eyes.

“It is a roller coaster, some days are better than others, but we are keen to focus on the bright side of the world.“Actually, it is one of my daily practices now to write a half a page of what I am grateful for. Once you start, the list just gets bigger and bigger.”