When Joey was just four years old, his parents Darren and Kathryn faced the terrible news that their little boy had a brain tumour. “It was completely horrific,” says Darren. “You fear the worst and there were lots and lots of tears.”
Joey had been diagnosed with acid reflux after suffering retching and headaches. But the medicine prescribed didn’t help and, when their son became lethargic and had difficulty walking, Darren and Kathryn took him to a specialist.“The doctor looked into Joey’s eyes and could see the build-up of fluid,” Darren recalls. “Within literally two minutes we knew our son had a brain tumour.”
After a 10 hour operation, tests revealed that the tumour was cancerous. Little Joey then endured radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a second operation.“Getting all the tumour out is the thing,” Darren explains. “But the specialists work very, very delicately to avoid permanent damage to surrounding brain tissue.”
Thankfully, after all the treatment, Darren and Kathryn were told that Joey’s long term prognosis was very good.
Research to find a way to get more detailed information from MRI scans for children with brain tumours is underway, funded by Action Medical Research and The Brain Tumour Charity and led by Professor Peet, who treated Joey.
“This work is amazingly important,” Darren says. “Treatment can become more tailored, more individual and so potentially cause the child less harm.”
With Joey, big brother Ben, little sister Hannah, Darren and Kathryn have a busy, happy family life. Joey is making amazing progress. He is symptom-free and has an MRI scan every six months.“You would not know what he’s been through,” says Darren. “He’s a friendly, caring boy and he is doing very well at school. And he says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a doctor.”
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