Help children like Daniel

The new intra-operative MRI suite will help children like Daniel, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was just two-years-old.

“I started to notice some slight, but noticeable, changes in my son Daniel just before his second birthday. Normally an enthusiastic and engaging child, he became lethargic, began to struggle with his balance and developed a slight tremor. His reflexes were slower and he often told me that his head hurt.

“Over the next six months, we took Daniel to several doctors, but none of them found a problem. Instinctively though, I knew that something was wrong with him and was finally recommended a paediatric specialist at our local hospital. Tests were carried out, as well as a CT and an MRI scan, which confirmed my worst fears. Nothing could have prepared me for the moment I was told that Daniel had a brain tumour.

“Daniel’s tumour was extremely large and required major surgery to remove it. We were referred to the renowned neurosurgery department at Great Ormond Street Hospital and placed under the wonderful care of Mr Kristian Aquilina, who performed the operation, which took more than five hours. It was only after the surgery that we found out the tumour wasn’t cancerous. While this was a relief, the size and location of the tumour meant that although the operation was mostly successful, Mr Aquilina was unable to remove all of it.

“The surgery took its toll on Daniel and he had to learn to do the most basic of tasks again – sit, stand, walk. Even now, we still have a diary full of occupational therapy and physiotherapy appointments to help him regain his strength and fine motor skills.

“Daniel is doing very well now – we feel blessed that he is able to lead a stable and happy life. However, because some of the tumour was left behind after the surgery, we have to return to Great Ormond Street Hospital every three months for a check-up and MRI scan to ensure it hasn’t grown or altered.

“While I am thankful every day for the recovery Daniel has made, as each check-up appointment approaches, so too do the sleepless nights and the worry that the tumour will have returned. We don’t take a single day for granted.”

Louise, Daniel's mum