Skye's story | Action Medical Research

Skye's story

Brain tumour

Skye is such a determined and creative little girl that, just two days after emergency brain surgery, she was in the hospital playroom colouring and drawing.

“Skye is fun-loving, caring and artistic. She’s also very, very determined!” says her mum Carolann.

When Skye was just four years old, a large tumour was found very close to her brain stem. After life-saving surgery at Edinburgh Sick Children’s Hospital, she endured 12 months of treatment including chemotherapy, lost her hair and missed a year of school. Unfortunately, chemotherapy failed to slow the growth of the tumour, so Skye had a treatment called proton therapy for a further four months. Thankfully, the tumour is now stable.

Before her diagnosis, Skye suffered from a range of worrying symptoms, as her mum explains: “When Skye was two, she would wake at night crying as if in pain. She would also be sick, quite violently, yet unaware she was doing so, which was very unlike her. An eye test was suggested, but the optician said she was too small. We frequently took her to our GP and to Accident and Emergency, but no cause could be found.”

Eventually, after a brain scan, Skye was diagnosed with a type of brain tumour called juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma.

Skye, who is now 10, experiences some learning difficulties and has profound hearing loss in her left side. Her peripheral vision has also been affected.

Skye took part in a study led by Professor Robert Minns to develop a new way to assess visual field defects in young children. “This research is so important,” says Carolann. “We now understand what Skye can and cannot see. We can help her better at home and explain things to teachers and other children. And it has also reassured us that her sight is not deteriorating.”

You can find out more about this study here.

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