Mum's 10,000 steps challenge for charity that helped daughter who has brain tumour
- Credit: BRAIN TUMOUR RESEARCH CHARITY
The mother of an eight-year-old girl from Doddington who was told her daughter had reflux and anxiety which later turned out to be a brain tumour has raised more than £1,500 for charity.
Laura McNulty will walk 10,000 steps every day in February in aid of the Brain Tumour Research charity alongside one of her daughter Isla's school friends, Thomas Shepherd, who has so far raised £615.
The 41-year-old, who is also mum to Louie, 16, Enya, six, and 18-month-old Reggie, said: “Isla first started being sick more than two years ago in December 2018, often on the way to school.
"The GP told me it was probably acid reflux. Some weeks later, Isla started projectile vomiting everywhere, including on her classmates and in assemblies.
"She saw a consultant who put her on stronger medication, but Isla was still being sick, sometimes up to 15 times a day.
"My husband Ian and I were told it was down to anxiety.
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“Then, in January 2020, Isla was at a birthday party with her sister and having so much fun.
"Without warning she threw up all over the food. I knew it wasn’t down to anxiety.
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“Again, I saw the consultant who continued to insist it was all in Isla’s head. I was so frustrated I just walked out.
"She must have had second thoughts because the next day she phoned to let me know she had referred Isla for an MRI scan.
“The appointment didn’t come through for six weeks and then we didn’t hear anything for more than two weeks because of a mix-up at the hospital.
"The first I heard was when I had a phone call from the hospital mentioning cancer and treatment. They assumed we had already been given Isla’s results.
“It was such a shock; I couldn’t take it in and thought they were looking at someone else’s scan results. It never occurred to me that Isla had a brain tumour.
“We were told Isla needed to be admitted immediately to hospital. Three days later she was transferred to Addenbrooke’s.
"On March 3 2020, Isla underwent surgery to remove a tumour the size of a golf ball, which turned out to be a medulloblastoma.
“Six weeks later, Isla began radiotherapy, which meant her wearing a horrible mask with only a hole for her nose and being screwed to the bed. She also started 36 weeks of chemotherapy.
“Isla still has 16 weeks of chemo to go and has lost so much weight.
"She is 21kg – the same as she weighed when she was six – and is being tube-fed because she can’t stomach anything.
“We are so touched that Isla’s lovely school friend Thomas has decided to take on the challenge too.
"Walking 10,000 steps a day at the age of eight is no mean feat!
“People need to be aware that persistent symptoms like Isla’s could be a brain tumour.
"If I hadn’t questioned the consultant, Isla could have died.
"Please donate - research into this devastating disease is so underfunded.”
Thomas’ mum, Tanya Shepherd, added: “To say we are proud of Thomas is an understatement.
"We have spoken to him about how hard this will be as he isn’t one for exercise, but he is so determined to do this for Isla.
"He told us her life has been at risk ever since she has had cancer and that he really wants her to be happy and for her to feel better.”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to the disease.
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are really sorry to learn of Isla’s diagnosis and wish her all the best with her treatment.
“We are really grateful to Laura and Thomas for taking part in our 10,000 steps challenge. and for helping to raise awareness."