St Albans’ double tumour family campaigning for charity
- Credit: Debbie White/Archant
A ST Albans family has been dealt a double blow after a second member – a plucky 12 year old boy – was recently found to suffer a brain tumour. The family, based in Sandridge, hopes to raise funds for both a hospital and cancer charity which have been instrumental in the lad’s care.
Just five years after his older sister, Tilly Martindale, was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour, Chad started noticing similar symptoms.
The brave boy, a year 8 pupil at Sandringham School, has this year had a malignant tumour removed from his brain, undergone radiotherapy and will now spend 12 months being treated with chemotherapy.
Despite fighting cancer, Chad is keen to help raise funds for the oncology ward of Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge, where he is being treated, and CLIC Sargent, a cancer charity for children and young people.
Tilly, now 24, explained she began feeling ill in 2007, with constant headaches and nausea, which then progressed to sleeping for up to 14 hours a day, suffering double vision and being unable to walk unaided.
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But she was not diagnosed until February 2008.
That month, 90 per cent of her brain tumour was removed and the remainder cauterised.
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Tilly, who has since qualified as a nurse and works at Papworth hospital, continues to have yearly scans.
Then in January this year Chad started feeling ill and complained off and on about headaches.
Their mum, Sharron Brunton, explained: "Chad said he felt like there was air building up inside his head, and like there was something behind his eye."
During 10-hour-long surgery the entire tumour, a malignant Medulloblastoma, was removed.
Sharron said: "It is very rare to have one family member with a brain tumour, but to have two is very, very rare - it's pure bad luck. We don't know what has caused it. There needs to be more research done into brain tumours."
The family was warned before Chad's surgery that he may not walk afterwards - he now mostly uses a wheelchair to get around.
While in the oncology ward at Addenbrooke's Chad was given "beads of courage" which signify milestones and procedures during treatment.
For example an acorn shaped bead is given for strength and a pink heart bead represents the first time Sharron turned the feeding peg on Chad's stomach.
While at hospital, Chad particularly enjoys games of bingo but because the counters have to constantly be cleaned before being used by fellow patients, the numbers have worn off.
Chad hopes that the fundraiser will help provide replacement games and toys for the ward, and help brighten up the hospital garden.
Tilly said people have already donated plenty of items for the event, and nothing further is needed for a raffle, but there are still some tickets available.
Tickets for the fundraiser, being held at the David Lloyd conference centre in Hatfield on October 12, cost £30. There will be music and refreshments at the event.
To buy tickets email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can follow Chad on his blog: www.supportchad.blog.com