Stories

Jade's story

Jade's story

Like most 17-year-olds, Jade couldn't wait to start driving lessons. But when she was out in the car for practice sessions last summer, she began to notice problems with her vision.

“One day I drove over the kerb and my dad said: 'You need to get your eyes tested!'" she remembers.

Within minutes of Jade's arrival at the optician's, it was clear something was very wrong.

“Whichever lenses I tried, I could hardly read anything," Jade said. “It turned out later that I had lost half of my peripheral vision in each eye."

The optician referred Jade immediately to hospital, where tests led eventually to devastating news.

Jade had three germinoma tumours- a rare type of brain cancer which affects only around ten children in the UK every year. One tumour was pushing on her optic nerve, another was crushing her pituitary gland and a third had developed in the frontal part of her brain.

After 25 sessions of radiotherapy, a scan last month revealed no sign of the disease - although damage to Jade's pituitary gland means she will need to take medication for the rest of her life.

Jade's mum Sarah said: “The tumour that was crushing Jade's pituitary gland explained so many of her symptoms, including the fact that her periods had stopped, her loss of appetite and chronic fatigue, which doctors had put down to what they thought was anorexia.

“During the whole time she had the tumours, she had carried on going to college and taken herself off to her job working with horses one day a week.

“It's heartbreaking to think just how much effort she must have had to make just to try to function normally".

I feel it’s really important to work alongside GPs, which is what HeadSmart does, so that they recognise the mixture of symptoms that could be caused by a brain tumour.

- Sarah, Jade's mum