As Ainsley Foster arranged to hire his graduation cap and gown, he felt he knew what the future had in store.

But that very week he was hit by a headache which changed everything.

The Northumbria University student's life was turned upside down on April 30 last year when he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour.

He said: "I'd been getting this headache and blurred vision for two or three days and I'm not the type of person to get headaches.

"I honestly don't think I'd had a headache before then.

"So my mum said 'you need to go to the GP'. They sent me straight to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, who said there was nothing wrong with my vision.

"But by that point I was throwing up, so we went back to the doctors and were sent to Cramlington hospital.

"By the time we got there I was so bad that I collapsed outside the A&E.

"The next thing I remember is waking up on a trolley bed and them telling me it looked like I had a mass on my brain."

Ainsley, then 21, from Blyth, Northumberland, had his first GP appointment on a Monday.

Two days later he was in the RVI undergoing the first of two operations on a brain tumour which could have proved fatal.

Mum Julie has supported Ainsley throughout his illness

He was then transferred to the Freeman Hospital and after a terrifying few days, much of which Ainsley can't remember, he had been set to start chemotherapy.

But there was yet another devastating blow to come.

His mum Julie, 57, said: "They told us his tumour had haemorrhaged and that if they didn't get him back to the RVI for an operation he would die.

"The staff didn't expect him to survive - we were told to phone the family in case he didn't make it.

"The staff at the Freeman call him a walking miracle for getting through it.

"I'm so proud of him because the whole time he never complained at all, he had such a positive outlook, and I think that helped his recovery."

After undergoing the operation, Ainsley then had a gruelling course of intensive chemotherapy, spending weeks at a time having drugs pumped into his bloodstream 24 hours a day.

Unable to walk, with his eyesight only gradually coming back, Ainsley was unrecognisable from the healthy young man who had been planning his first-ever 'lads holiday' before the nearly-fatal headache hit.

"I say I had it easy because I couldn't see how bad I was, whereas everyone who was coming into visit me had to see me half dead," he said.

Doctors then sent Ainsley to Germany to receive high-tech proton beam therapy, a specially targeted form of radiotherapy often used for young people, which reduces the risk of future damage to vital brain cells close to the tumour.

And less than a year after the shock diagnosis, he was declared cancer-free.

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"It feels like a long time to me because it was so hard, but it actually is a very quick recovery," he said.

Ainsley has now returned to his sports development degree and is hoping to graduate this year.

And he's determined to give something back to those who saved his life.

This April, just a few days before the anniversary of his diagnosis, Ainsley and Julie plan to host a charity night in Blyth, raising money for the Freeman Hospital's ward 34 where he was treated.

They'll also raise cash for cancer charity CLIC Sargent, who helped him while he was ill.

Ainsley said: "The staff on the ward become like your family, that's why I wanted to give something back.

"You'd think it would be a solemn place to be, but the staff make sure it's not like that at all.

"I know how hard going through this was for me and if there's any way I can help make it just a little bit easier for at least one person, then I will try to do that.

"It was obviously a really difficult experience, but the hospital and CLIC Sargent made it bearable, and I just want to help that support continue."

If anyone wishes to support Ainsley's appeal, Halifax bank in Blyth are now accepting donations and raffle prizes for his fundraising night.