THE MOTHER of a Bournemouth youngster recovering after brain tumour surgery says the diagnosis hit the family âlike a truckâ – and now she wants to help others affected by the disease.
Harmony Skinner, six, experienced health problems including dizzy spells and headaches for around 18 months before she was referred for an MRI scan at Poole Hospital in June last year.
Her parents and healthcare professionals suspected her symptoms were due to an inherited condition, as both her dad Aaron and her aunt Carly suffer from vertigo and migraines.
Mum Julie said: âThe doctors werenât expecting to find anything but they could see a shadow on her brain.
âThey sent the scan results to Southampton Hospital and very soon afterwards we had a call asking us to go in.
âThey told us the shadow was a tumour and they needed to operate.
âIt hit us like a truck. We couldnât believe that all this time it had been the tumour causing her illness.â
Surgeons were able to remove 90 per cent of the tumour, which was classified as low-grade (non-malignant).
Since then, Kingâs Park Academy pupil Harmony has had three-monthly scans which have shown no sign of regrowth.
However, she is still experiencing dizziness and has undergone further tests to rule out a heart problem or another neurological condition.
Julie, 36, is sharing her familyâs experience through The Brain Tumour Charity to help highlight the symptoms of the disease in children and the need for more research.
She said: âHarmony has taken it all in her stride. She has dealt with it really well, although she does get tired and little things upset her quite easily.
âThe school has been fantastic.
âHer teachers try to make sure she sits down quietly for part of play time and they have put a duvet and a pillow into the first aid room so she can even have a nap if she needs one during the day.â
Julie said Harmony – who has a four-year-old sister, Summer – had been lucky compared with some children diagnosed with more aggressive brain tumours.
âI read about what other families are going through, via support groups, and I realise that it could have been so much worse for Harmony.â
Malignant or high-grade brain tumours kill more children in the UK than any other form of cancer, yet less than two per cent of Government spending on cancer research is invested in the disease.
Emma Tingley, director of services and influencing for The Brain Tumour Charity, said: âWe are so pleased to hear that Harmony is back at school and doing well after her diagnosis and surgery.
âBy speaking about her familyâs experience, Julie will help others affected by a childhood brain tumour to feel less isolated.
âWe are very grateful to her for her support.â
The Brain Tumour Charity funds vital research into brain tumours as well as providing support to those affected and raising awareness of the disease.
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