Cardiff residents are being encouraged to raise some dough for research after a teenager’s brain tumour was mistakenly diagnosed as hayfever.
Karen Brewsell, of Westfield Park, Ely, is holding a charity bake-off at Canton Community Hall today to raise money for Brain Tumour Research because she says it is her “way of having some control over what is happening” to her teenage daughter.
When her daughter Holly, who is now 16, went to her GP in June 2009 complaining of a headache, she was told she had hayfever and sent away with a bottle of nasal spray. But she returned to her doctor when her symptoms got worse.
“I used to get a lot of headaches and weakness down my left side,” Holly said. “Then I got one constant headache that wouldn’t go away. When I started vomiting I went back to the doctor, who reacted very quickly. It only took a month from the first headache to the first operation.”
Holly has had five operations in the last three years, but surgeons have been unable to remove her tumour. Being constantly in and out of hospital has inevitably had an effect on her studies and her social life.
“I lost a lot of time in school and didn’t have the stamina to do anything with my friends,” she said. “Some nights I’d be in bed by 8:30pm.”
Doctors are now continuing to monitor Holly’s tumour, and if necessary she could have a course radiotherapy at Velindre Hospital, but mum Karen wanted to do something to raise money for a charity which researches and raises awareness about illnesses like Holly’s.
The proceeds from the bake-off will go to Brain Tumour Research, and Karen and Holly will also be raising awareness for Head Smart – a new campaign by the Brain Tumour Charity to help diagnosis rates in young children.
“The problem is that the symptoms are very hard to spot because they are so generic,” said Karen. “There are over 120 different types of brain tumour so it is very difficult for GPs to spot.”
“Research is also disproportionately underfunded. It only gets around 1% of council funding.”
Karen will be hoping her bakers get into the spirit of the BBC2 programme The Great British Bake Off, the third series of which was won last month by John Whaite.
“It’s a serious subject but we try to have fun,” she said. “We have recently had events with a Neil Diamond and a Queen tribute act. Hopefully this will take the total amount raised past £17,000.”
The bake-off will run from 12pm-2pm at Canton Community Hall.