Life

Brain tumour survivor turned radio DJ takes over the airwaves

An Altrincham man has launched his own radio station and raised over £600 for the charity Headway, who supported him after a brain tumour.

Rod Maxwell was diagnosed with a brain tumour in September 2016, after experiencing unbearable headaches that affected his ability to read, including memory loss and psychological aspects that still impact him today. 

Mr Maxwell said: “I was just 50 the other week and so instead of meeting up to have a drink with people, I asked them to donate money to Headway.” 

Headway first registered as a charity in March 1980, with the aim of providing support and services to families and survivors of brain injuries. 

Before being diagnosed, Mr Maxwell often travelled across Europe for his firm PwC. 

He had been working as a professional for 25 years. 

The father of three said: “When I lost my job, and lost those colleagues and lost that infrastructure around me, I just felt a little bit more exposed.” 

During his recovery Mr Maxwell en-tered the world of broadcast in 2017, starting at the recently closed down station Trafford Sound. 

On his journey, Mr Maxwell said: “I would say that the radio was a big part of the recovery process and also singing in a choir and of course my family as well.” 

He recently interviewed North West Tonight’s Gordon Burns on his new station Alty Radio, which is part of Altrincham Community Media.  

The station has been in progress since December 2019, but it wasn’t until the first week of lockdown that he felt spurred on to officially start the radio, despite uncertainty surrounding the location. 

Mr Maxwell said: “The radio has been a challenge at times with the organisation just getting set up. 

“Most of the team members have never met each other because it’s been done in lockdown.” 

Mr Maxwell said of his experience with the charity: “It helped with me coming to terms with the fact that I could no longer work anymore. 

“Headway was essentially like working therapy and that’s what I needed. 

“I was finding the neuropsychology sessions too tough and unstructured.”

Things changed for Mr Maxwell when Headway recommended he begin volunteering with them, and soon he felt fulfilled giving back to the community.

Headway’s area manager of the north, Andrea Hogan said: “Everybody thinks the world of him – he gives us a lot of shout-outs on the radio. 

“He really is such a fantastic spokesperson for our charity in terms of his own experience and how that relates to the money that we raise for charity.” 

During 2016-2017 there were 348,453, acquired brain injury hospital admissions in the UK. Headway desperately need volunteers for their Sale branch in Manchester, so they can still make a difference to those with a brain injury.

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