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Parents back brain tumour campaign after Sion Mills youngster’s diagnosis

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Parents back brain tumour campaign after Sion Mills youngster’s diagnosis thumbnail

THE mother of a three-year-old boy who was diagnosed with a brain tumour said she instinctively knew something was seriously wrong when his eyes began to squint.
The family from Sion Mills are supporting the Brain Tumour Charity's HeadSmart campaign to raise awareness of the disease.
Marie Gibson said her son, Kelvin, had been suffering bad headaches which doctors had put down to an infection.
The 34-year-old mum-of-three said: "Kelvin's eyes suddenly started to turn inwards, his pupils were pointing towards his nose. We had no idea why, but I knew that this wasn't right so we took him straight to the hospital. The doctors thought it might be hayfever and gave him eye drops.
"Then on the same day, his behaviour changed, he became very aggressive and really violent which was totally out of character. I knew there was something wrong because of how much he'd changed. With his headaches and turned in eyes, I thought it might be epilepsy but it never entered my head that it could be a brain tumour."
After three days taking the eye drops Kelvin didn't improve so Marie took him back to his GP who sent them straight to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry.
Kelvin was given a CT scan which revealed a large mass on the left side of his brain.
'Scared'
Marie said: "We were so scared and really started to panic. The tumour was big, about 6cm by 9cm and we were rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast."
He had a brain (MRI) scan which showed that the large tumour had features in keeping with a choroid plexus cyst or a low grade glioma.
Marie added: "It knocked the whole family, we didn't know if he was going to survive it and we had to try to explain what might happen to his two brothers."
Kelvin had an initial operation to stop the blood flow to the tumour and the next day he had another which lasted more than eight hours to try to remove it.
"The doctors told us we could leave the hospital during the operation but we couldn't, we were too scared to.
"95-99% of the tumour was removed and Kelvin was in intensive care for three days when they kept him sedated. My husband spent most of his time with him because I couldn't handle it, every time he flinched or moved I was terrified so I went in and out of the hospital during that time.
"Thankfully he recovered really well and came home from hospital after a week on the ward. He had slight weakness on his right hand side and the pressure of the tumour had given him tunnel vision and double vision but his eyesight returned to normal after the operation.
"The doctors have been amazing, they don't get enough praise for what they do."
Kelvin was diagnosed with a Grade 1 intraventricular pilocytic astrocytoma. After the operation he had physiotherapy and occupational therapy and now has six month scans.

Marie said: "He has been so lucky, he is back to normal now and starting school in September, he really is such an amazing little boy who has fought this disease head on. He never complains about anything, he is our wee super hero."
Sponsored walk
On June 12, the family, including Dad Gareth, 35 and Kelvin's two older brothers Oisin, 15 and Odhran, 10, will be taking part in a sponsored walk along Buncrana beach to mark a year since he fell ill.
They have already raised over £3,000 for research into brain tumours.
Geraldine Pipping, director of fundraising for The Brain Tumour Charity, said: "We are immensely grateful to Kelvin's family for everything they are doing to support us following their very frightening experience.
"By raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of childhood brain tumours, HeadSmart can reduce diagnosis times, save lives and reduce long-term health problems caused by the disease.
"We are delighted that Kelvin is making such a good recovery and wish the family the very best of luck with their sponsored walk."
To find out more about brain tumours, their symptoms, and how The Brain Tumour Charity can help, visit: www.headsmart.org.uk

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