A LITTLE boy with a brain tumour is to take on a walking challenge to fund research to find a cure for the disease.
Charlie Clayton, from Worthing, was diagnosed with Craniopharyngiomas in 2020 – a tumour located at the bottom of the brain and above the pituitary gland, which controls many vital functions.
The ten-year-old is hoping to raise £300 by walking 10,000 steps a day throughout February to raise vital funds for the charity Brain Tumour Research.
Charlie’s mum Stacy, who is a teaching assistant at his school West Park Primary in Worthing, is completing the challenge alongside her son.
She said: “We’re having to walk round the well-lit streets where we live during the week because it’s getting dark by the time I get home from school, but we’ll probably take walks along the beach at weekends.”
Stacy said she and Charlie’s father Chris first became concerned about their son’s health when he complained of having headaches.
She said: “When the headaches became more frequent and he was off school for a few days vomiting as well, we rang 111 who suggested he got checked out at hospital for meningitis.
“A few days later, he started to feel bad again, so Worthing Hospital decided to book him in for an MRI scan just to check nothing serious was wrong.
“Chris was with Charlie when he had the scan and I got a call from him at school to come over.
“We saw a doctor who told us they had found a ‘mass’ in Charlie’s brain and he needed to be transferred to Southampton General.”
Stacy said she “broke down and cried” and tried to think of ways to tell Charlie’s twin sister, Megan, the “devastating” news.
She said: “All sorts of thoughts went through my head. Will Charlie need an operation? Will he survive? Who will look after Megan?
“Charlie had a 3cm by 3cm tumour, which was very close to areas controlling his eyes and other functions, so we were told the likelihood was they wouldn’t be able to remove all of the tumour.
“After being given all the worst-case scenarios, it was such a massive relief to find Charlie awake, talking and able to recognise us, after five hours of surgery in his brain.”
Charlie underwent proton beam therapy at The Christie in Manchester in September and October last year to help shrink the tumour further.
While Charlie is still having headaches, Stacy said she has been told by doctors they will reduce over time.
According to data from Brain Tumour Research, tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this disease.
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are really sorry to learn of Charlie’s diagnosis and wish him all the best for the future.
“We are really grateful to him and Stacy for taking part in our 10,000 steps challenge and for helping to raise awareness.”
To donate to Charlie’s fundraising page go to www.facebook.com/donate/2301848116614485