At the end of 2017 we embarked on a campaign to raise money for a potentially lifesaving operation for Ciara. Only 18mths earlier, Ciara who was then 16 was playing netball at a high level when she collided with another player and hit her head on the court. The following days she was very unwell and they suspected she had concussion.
Following a scan, their lives were turned upside down when they discovered a brain stem tumour, requiring an immediate operation to drain the fluid in her brain as the tumour was blocking the acquaduct. The surgery was a success, however, they were then told the tumour was inoperable. In November 2016 the tumour changed into a malignant tumour, yet due to its precarious position no one could help as no biopsy could be done, so no treatment could be offered.
Ciara’s mother Colleen searched the world for treatment options or specialists that could offer anything to save her with continual rejections and people saying they have never seen this tumour before. However, Colleen did not give up. When researching she found out about Professor Charles Teo, the worlds most renowned neurosurgeon. Many surgeons wouldn’t or couldn’t operate due to the very dangerous position of the tumour on the brain stem. Dr Charles Teo would.
There was only a small window to operate on Ciara based on the rate of growth before the tumour got too big, making surgery more difficult with the risks of deficits increasing. It wasn’t easy to make the decision about very risky surgery, and they were aware of the possible outcomes, but they still remained hopeful. Hopeful that Dr Teo could remove the tumour successfully and that Ciara could beat this very rare tumour. She deserved a fighting chance, so much had already been taken from her, her netball, her education, her wellbeing and with Dr Teo in her corner she had a chance to be cured, a chance to live, a chance to be a normal girl.
Ciara’s family needed to raise money, and fast. This is where we could help. We worked with Ciara’s family and her local community to help raise the money needed. Ciara had the surgery with Dr Teo and it was a success. The follow up scan showed Dr Teo got all the tumour, nothing left and with the pathology showing a grade 2, he believes she is highly likely cured. She still has some vision problems but hopefully time will help.
We are so over the moon for Ciara’s family and hope she continues in good health and lives a long happy life that she deserves.