An eight-year-old told by three doctors she just had a headache had her life saved by her MUM – who used a leaflet to diagnose an orange-sized brain tumour.
Chrissy Fletcher, 40, says a series of medics said her daughter Darcey was just suffering from run of the mill problems and should see an optician.
But after reading an advice leaflet on child brain tumours – mother-of-four Chrissy noticed the symptoms matched up and drove the the six-year-old to hospital.
To her horror, an MRI scan soon revealed a whopping 6.5cm by 5.2cm tumour – and doctors told her that Darcey had only been a week away from death.
Speaking of the lucky discovery, Chrissy, of Huddersfield, West Yorks., said: “I never in a million years would have thought a brain tumour causing Darcey so much pain until I diagnosed her from a leaflet.
“When I was looking at the checklist I was thinking, yes, yes, yes, checking off all the symptoms it listed, bar one – epilepsy.
“The thing is: the doctors would not give her the scan and just dismissed it as a migraine without even looking.
“But then I just could not believe my eyes when the symptoms on the card matched up.”
She added: “I say to other parents you need to persist and keep pushing doctors for scans – if I’d have listened to those GPs then my beautiful daughter would be dead.”
Darcey had been ill for a week with headaches in October 2014, but had been dismissed by two doctors before one prescribed her tablets for migraines.
But the youngster was still having headaches a week later so paid a visit to A&E at Barnsley Hospital, South Yorks., but was told it was again just a simple migrane.
On the advice of medical staff, Chrissy then took Darcey to Orklands optician in Skelmanthorpe, West Yorks.,
Even the opticians didn’t spot anything was wrong and gave the mum a HeadSmart symptoms card provided by The Brain Tumour Charity for future reference.
But as mum Chrissy read through the symptoms, she was shocked to find herself checking off each one as something her daughter was suffering with.
She rushed her daughter to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where the brain tumour was finally diagnosed.
“We were told that without surgery she would have definitely died within a week – I just couldn’t believe it, it was shocking.
“But then I think back and think how lucky we were – now all I want to do is spread the awareness to other mums so they don’t have to go through it.
“At Barnsley hospital the staff wouldn’t give Darcey a scan even though I asked if you think she’d need one and said it might have something to do with her eyes.
“So I guess if i’d have never gone to the opticians when I did it could have been too later for Darcey.”
Thankfully Darcey, who spent two months in hospital, made a full recovery after fluid was first removed on her brain and then the tumour was removed four days later.
The youngster, who attends Kayes First and Nursery School, now only has a routine MRI scan every six months.
Chrissy and hubby Ian Fletcher, 47, also have three other kids Lewis, 18, Luke, 15 and Brooke, 13.
Following the near loss of her daughter, Chrissy is backing the UK-wide campaign launched by HeadSmart to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of childhood brain tumours.
Speaking about the campaign, she said: “I have no doubt that simply reading that card saved Darcey’s life – we don’t want other parents to miss the symptoms.
“We obviously know how important it is for parents and doctors to recognise when a child may have a brain tumour.”
Hayley Epps, campaign manager for The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 in the UK – and Darcey’s story shows that there still needs to be much more awareness about symptoms.
“HeadSmart has two aims: to save lives and reduce long-term disability by bringing down childhood brain tumour diagnosis times.
“Relaunching the campaign will help us to achieve that goal by alerting more healthcare professionals, parents and young people to the signs and symptoms of the disease.”