Molly from Rochdale was just 16-years-old when a period of frequent headaches, nausea and dizziness lead to the devastating diagnosis of a cancerous brain tumour. Her mum Jane tells us Molly’s story and all about her treatment at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital…
Molly had always been a very healthy, happy and content child. She didn’t get ill often and we had no reason at all to suspect that anything could have been wrong when she was growing up. It was early May 2016 when Molly’s first signs of illness began. She complained of a bad headache which lasted a few days, and just a week later she was really disorientated, feeling sick and dizzy; she felt like she was bumping into walls at school.
We were really concerned, so took Molly to our local doctors who thought she might have some sort of inner ear infection and prescribed her travel and motion sickness tablets.
During this time Molly was studying for her GCSE’s and continued to revise in the evenings, despite her symptoms growing progressively worse. Looking back it’s incredible that she was able to concentrate and dedicate time to her studies, considering everything she was going through.
At the end of May, Molly was at her ballet dancing class and suddenly felt very ill, she again was incredibly dizzy and nauseous. In the evening Molly was feeling even worse. It was terrible to see my daughter so poorly, especially as I had no idea what was wrong with her or how to make her better. I called the NHS helpline for a second opinion who advised us to go to the doctors the next day.
In the morning Molly sat her GCSE English exam but was too ill to complete it so we took her to Rochdale’s A&E department. The doctor’s referred Molly for an MRI scan.
At this point I was so anxious to get a diagnosis; I had a gut feeling that something was seriously wrong as Molly’s wasn’t getting better. Molly continued to get on with her exams, resting in between, whilst we waited for the results.
I’ll never forget that it was 22nd June when I received the phone call from Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital asking me how quickly I could get to the hospital. I knew then that they’d found something, and that it wasn’t going to be good news. I was in work but I made my way straight to the hospital along with Molly and her dad, Richard.
At the hospital, we were given the news we had been dreading; that Molly had a cancerous brain tumour. I just remember Molly being so brave. She’d just received some incredibly scary news but she wanted to see the scan, be talked through where the tumour was, and what was going to happen.
Surgery was booked for 27th June and thanks to the hospital’s incredible surgeons the entire tumour was removed. Following the surgery Dr Penn, Molly’s oncologist, told us that Molly had an ependymoma, which is a cancerous tumour and that she would need radiotherapy in the form of protom beam therapy, to try and kill off any cancerous cells. So 3 weeks later we flew to Jacksonville, Florida for Molly to start the Proton Beam Therapy.
For now Molly is doing really well but she is still under the care of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and has to visit every three months for a scan. We honestly cannot thank the hospital enough for the care and treatment they have shown our family, on every visit the staff have been nothing short of amazing.
We’re extremely thankful that Molly is now doing well, but I know not all other children are as lucky. That’s why we want to support Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity’s Be Seen in Green day and help other families in a similar situation. I know better than anyone what it’s like to receive such devastating news, and to want to do anything in your power to make everything better for your child. That’s why fundraising for this specialist, state-of-the-art equipment is so important. It will help get a more accurate prognosis for young brain tumour patients so they can receive the best and most appropriate treatment, as quickly as possible, giving them the best possible hope for the future.