Ivan Noble - Science journalist for BBC News online

When Ivan was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in August 2002, he said he was determined to beat his cancer.

It always looked a long shot, however much we all hoped otherwise.

Tragically, despite a remarkable fight, it’s now killed him, a husband and father of two, aged 37.

Looking
back, it is perhaps astonishing Ivan survived as long as he did, given
the type of tumour he had and the very poor survival rate. A year ago,
after two operations on his brain within three months, no-one, least of
all Ivan, had much hope. But the gamble paid off and, despite having
prepared for death, Ivan lived to see his son born and his daughter
celebrate her third birthday, two goals he had cherished for months.

Ivan
Noble was born in Leeds in 1967 and spent his childhood in Luton and
Leeds. He studied German at Aston University in Birmingham and lived
and worked in what was then East Germany. After graduating, he joined
BBC Monitoring as a sub-editor and went on to become an internet
journalism trainer at the World Service, before his last job as a
science and technology writer on the BBC News website.

Ivan
started writing a column about his cancer not long after he was
diagnosed in August 2002. There was a huge response from readers, some
of which was published with each entry.

Many readers sent
comments saying that Ivan’s openness had helped them come to terms with
their own cancer or that of relatives, and Ivan established a close
affinity with some of them.

He appreciated the support of
readers, saying: “It’s incredible and humbling that people are
interested in me and it does me an awful lot of good because it takes
me out of myself and makes me think about the job that I do.”

In
his final column, which he wrote late last year in anticipation of
being too ill to continue writing, and which was published last week,
he said the feedback people had given him had helped him survive as
long as he had.

Following his diagnosis, Ivan had three brain
operations, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. He also got married and,
while in remission, took the decision with his wife to have a second
child, who was born in July last year. In his columns, however, he
jealously guarded the privacy of his family, never referring to them by
name.

Those of us who were close to Ivan are dealing with a more personal loss.

He
was a big, warm, intelligent man, who loved his family. Ivan had time
for people, and built lots of rewarding friendships as a result. We all
have our special memories and inevitably the past couple of years have
produced a disproportionate share.

A collection of his diaries is to be published later this year by Hodder.

Proceeds will go to charity.

Simon Fraser

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