A TODDLER who was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour has inspired an entire pre-school to fundraise to help find a brain tumour cure.

Sheila Bayliss, early years manager at Hagbourne Pre-school, was inspired to sign pupils and staff up to Brain Tumour Research’s Wear A Hat Day because her grandson is currently undergoing gruelling chemotherapy for a brain tumour so rare, it doesn't have a name.

Her grandson, 22-month-old Albie Bayliss-Watts was diagnosed with the tumour in December last year and received care at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

His mum, Lauren Watts of Didcot, said: “Albie suffered a seizure out of the blue in October and was taken to hospital. He didn’t have a CT scan at the time – they thought it was a rare type of epilepsy and referred him to neurology. But six weeks later, just before Albie was due to see a consultant, he started being sick. We thought it was a bug until he started vomiting blood.”

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“We took him to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where Albie was violently sick and then started deteriorating. It was really upsetting and frightening. He had a CT scan which revealed a mass the size of a tennis ball, taking up a third of his skull. It was putting so much pressure on his brain that within hours, on December 11, he was undergoing emergency surgery.

“Amazingly, the surgeons managed to remove 99 per cent of the tumour. My wife-to-be Hayley Bayliss and I were so happy and relieved.

“It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later, on Christmas Eve, when the biopsy results came back, that we were hit with the terrifying news that Albie’s tumour was cancerous and aggressive. On top of that, the brain tumour was so rare that there isn’t even a name for it.

“Christmas was irrelevant. All we could think of was our little boy Albie and what could be done for him. The neurosurgeons at the John Radcliffe shared scans and biopsy results with specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital and consulted with specialists there to put together a treatment plan.”

Brain 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 historically been spent on this devastating disease.

Albie’s grandparents are ready for Wear A Hat Day with grandad, Mick, busy baking cakes to sell at Hagbourne Pre-school to increase fundraising, and Ms Bayliss getting ready with her pre-school colleagues to help the little ones make and decorate their hats to wear on the day.

This year’s Wear A Hat Day fundraiser is paying tribute to key worker families who have played a pivotal role throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Brain Tumour Research is inviting people to join in the fun of Wear A Hat Day by donning their best headwear from beanies to cowboy hats, flat caps to Panamas, baseball caps to berets. Now in its 12th year, Wear A Hat Day has raised more than £2 million to help fund the fight against the disease.

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