A DETERMINED student has told how he had to learn to walk and read again after being diagnosed with a brain tumour while on holiday.

James Bradley, 26, saw his life turned upside down when he took seriously unwell whilst on a break in America.

Medics battled to save his life after he suffered serious complications and underwent major surgery to remove the tumour before a year of gruelling rehabilitation.

He was told by his medical team that his condition would not improve but against all the odds, James, who lives in Gourock's Ballochyle Place, has made a miraculous recovery.

James was 16 and a pupil at Gourock High when his world was turned upside down during a family holiday to America.

Just two weeks into a three week holiday to Texas, he became seriously unwell and was rushed to hospital.

His mum Fiona said: "James had been suffering from bad headaches and migraines for a while and was sleeping a lot.

"We went on holiday to Texas and it had been a long flight.

"By the time we got to Houston, James looked done in when he was getting off the flight.

"Two weeks into the break he took a real turn for the worse.

"We took him to a local cottage hospital where he had a CT scan and then they gave us the news that he had a brain tumour.

"They had to ventilate him at that point to stabilise him."

James was then rushed to the Texas Children's Hospital.

Fiona added: "They had to operate straight away to relieve the pressure because the fluid was building up in his head.

"So James had emergency surgery and he had a shunt fitted."

Initially James and his family were told that the tumour, which was the size of a fist, was stage four and cancerous.

But when they returned home, medical experts downgraded the tumour to a cyst which had likely been growing since he was born.

James then faced several life threatening complications and had to have another shunt fitted to relieve the pressure on his brain.

Fiona said: "He suffered from blood clots and infections.

"It got to the point where they would keep a bed for him at the hospital."

In 2014, James underwent a risky nine hour operation to remove the tumour.

Fiona said: "By that stage, James's health had deteriorated badly.

"He was about two stone lighter and he had this terrible limp.

"The medical team at the hospital felt it was the right time to operate.

"We felt at that point that they had the technology to have a decent go at removing it.

"He spent six weeks in hospital in total and then had 18 months of rehab."

James added: "I have been lucky as the operation went well for me - a lot of people are not in that fortunate situation."

During his rehab, James attended the Physical Disability Rehabilitation Unit at the IRH twice weekly for physiotherapy.

Fiona added: "Up until two years ago he was having scans every six months which have now been cut back to every two years.

"The scans are to monitor him as they didn't manage to get all the tumour away - it sits over the brain stem which makes it too risky.

"So they watch for regrowth."

After finishing rehabilitation, James had to rebuild his life.

James said: "I had to learn how to walk again and after that I started going to the gym to try to build myself back up.

"I enjoyed that, as I learned how the muscles work and how you can build yourself back up again from severe weakness."

In 2016, James returned to education at West College Scotland in Greenock, undertaking short programmes with the assistance of the college extended support learning team, and has since made great strides.

He was awarded a place on an applied science course, which he successfully completed.

The following year he was advised by his medical team that his condition would not improve and that he had reached his academic limits.

But James did not let this deter him, achieved his qualification and has now embarked on studies at HNC level.

He also found time to volunteer as a science ambassador to encourage school pupils to take an interest in it.

James said: "College got me back out into the world again.

"It has helped me with my confidence and it has been good to get back amongst people around my age."

His remarkable recovery has now been recognised after the college presented him with the illustrious James Watt Prize for his contribution to science, technology, engineering and maths.

James said: “College has certainly been a challenge, but it’s been a good one and has been beneficial to my health.

"It’s given me something to get it up for, it gets me out the house and is going to benefit my future."

As a result of his illness James now suffers from an eye condition called Meares-Irlen Syndrome which makes it difficult for him to read but WCS has supported him through this.

Fiona added: "The college organised for him to have specialist software and brought in equipment to help him."

James was recently presented with the James Watt Prize at a Greenock Town Hall ceremony in front of his mum Fiona, dad Jim and brother Colin, 22.

Fiona said: "For James to get this award is massive and I can only put it down to his own determination.

"He's so focused on his college work."

James is now looking to the future.

He said: "The dream is become a physiotherapist.

"Having worked with professionals in this field through my own rehabilitation I know the important part they play in people’s lives and how rewarding it can be.

"I’m overwhelmed to be given this award and couldn’t be prouder.”