Little Laurie was just 4 years old when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumour. To remove the tumour, Laurie required life-saving surgery which left her unable to eat, walk or talk. After weeks of intense therapy and incredible care from the team at the children’s hospital, bright and bubbly Laurie has now made a remarkable recovery. Read her inspiring story as told by Mum Lesley and learn why her family is fundraising for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity:
Laurie had been sick for a month but it was very odd. Her sickness was sporadic, happening days apart and only in the mornings with her holding the back of her head.
We went to our local hospital, where Laurie bravely stayed still for a 20 minute MRI scan which revealed a substantial growth at the back of her head.
The news was devastating. No-one could have prepared Jamie and I for it. It was a huge shock and a very scary time for all of us.
Laurie was taken to the children’s hospital in Glasgow for the first of her life saving operations which would involve inserting a drain in her head to relieve the pressure created by the tumour.
Her next operation was to remove the tumour and lasted an agonising 12 hours. For Jamie and I, it was the longest day of our lives.
I remember taking Laurie to the theatre and being terrified that this might be the last time she would behave and act like the little girl we had known and loved for 4 years. The cheekiest smile, funny faces, and caring nature - was she ever going to be the same?
While the operation successfully removed the tumour which thankfully wasn’t cancerous, Laurie had a much longer recovery ahead of her than we originally thought. It took her 4 days to come round from the operation after developing a virus. When she did eventually come round, she was mute.
For the next 2 weeks Laurie was tube fed and needed a wheelchair or carried as she was too weak. She also started physiotherapy to rebuild the strength she had lost. Her coordination was poor and her eyesight had deteriorated due to the swelling in her brain. Laurie needed to be taught how to stand up, sit down, crawl and walk.
We embarked on speech and language therapy to bring back her swallowing reflex and used picture boards to let her tell us what she wanted. She could fully understand what was being said but was unable to communicate back. Then one day she started talking again. It was a beautiful sound to hear her speak.
Eventually Laurie was able to have the external drain removed from her head and after 4 weeks of incredible care from family, friends, consultants, doctors, nurses, physios, speech and language therapists, play staff and volunteers, Jamie and I were finally allowed to take her home to Iona and Ben. This was the first day Laurie and I had gone home for a month. I promised her I would never go home without her and I didn't.
Since then Laurie has made an excellent recovery. Her balance and coordination is coming on leaps and bounds. She goes skiing, swimming, climbing and has achieved riding her bike without stabilisers which was a hugely proud moment.
To see Laurie embrace life with such vitality and fight to come back to full health is wonderful. Jamie and I are very proud of what she has achieved in the past 6 months.
The care and support Laurie received at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children was phenomenal. I had never truly appreciated the incredible work that goes on there, and while it was a traumatic experience, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity really changes the dynamic of the hospital and helps to lift the spirits of the kids and parents there.
It will never be possible for us to thank everyone enough who helped us. However, if we can raise some money for Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity it will help them support other families who are in a similar situation in the future.