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28th Jun 2024

British swimmer Archie Goodburn diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer

Zoe Hodges

‘I am determined to take this head-on’

23-year-old British swimmer Archie Goodburn has been diagnosed with three inoperable brain tumours.

Goodburn, who represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, realised there was something wrong when his training routine begun to be interrupted by ‘strange episodes’.

Following this year’s Olympic trials, tests concluded that he had three large tumours defined as oligodendrogliomas – a rare form of diffuse and progressive brain cancer.

On a post on Instagram, Goodburn said: “Six weeks ago, my life experienced a profound change as I was diagnosed with three brain tumours.”

Goodburn, who previously won a bronze medal in the men’s 50m breaststroke at the 2019 World Junior Swimming Championships, thought he was experiencing the symptoms of a migraine at first but seizures began to leave him with a loss of strength and numbing sensation in the left side of his body.

Goodburn said: “The seizures grew in intensity and frequency in the lead-up to the 2024 Olympic trials in April, something I’d aimed for and trained for almost my entire life.

“I was determined on achieving my dreams, so I continued to train on through the seizures.”

Goodburn narrowly missed out on the Olympic team, finishing third by just a few tenths of a second in an event with only two places.

“With the trials behind me, I dug deeper into what was really causing these attacks. An MRI in May finally revealed what I’d begun to fear most.”

Surgery is not possible, but Goodburn remains hopeful that radiotherapy and chemotherapy will prove effective.

He said: “The silver lining to this diagnosis is that oligodendrogliomas generally respond better to radiotherapy and chemotherapy than many other serious brain tumour types.”

He remains optimistic: “I am young, I am fit, I have the most phenomenal support network of friends, the best family I could ever hope for and a fantastic girlfriend by my side.

“I am determined to take this head-on, to remain positive and to keep being Archie.”