Three-year-old Seb has Medulloblastoma, a type of malignant brain tumour that is most commonly found in children and accounts for roughly 15-20% of all childhood brain tumours. Medulloblastoma usually develops in a part of the brain called the posterior fossa at the back of the head and can spread to other parts of the brain as well as the spinal cord, requiring complex, major surgery to remove it.
As the specialist centre for both oncology and neurosurgery in the South West, Seb travelled hundreds of miles from his home in Cornwall to Bristol Children’s Hospital for lifesaving treatment. After undergoing the complex procedure which successfully removed Seb’s tumour, he unfortunately acquired a common, but severe, neurological condition called Posterior Fossa Syndrome. His condition meant he lost the ability to walk, talk and even swallow.
For lots of children like Seb with an acquired brain condition or injury providing early neurorehabilitation is essential and plays a vital role in their recovery. Bristol Children’s Hospital is not only the busiest but the longest established specialist paediatric neurorehabilitation service in the South with often 10 or 11 patients under their care and most of these are children under the age of four.
The Sunflower Ward, the first of its kind in the country, is specifically designated for neurorehabilitation and has eight beds. Here children are cared for by an experienced interdisciplinary team including Neurosurgeons, Neuropsychologists, Specialist Nurses and Therapists as well as a hospital school to name just a few. They cater for the wide range of needs their young patients have and neurorehabilitation includes a variety of therapies that aims to compliment this such as physio, arts, music and play.
For young Seb, sensory support and play therapy formed an important part of his recovery. Mum Abby said that ‘We were overjoyed to hear that the surgery to remove his tumour was successful but when it became clear Seb had Posterior Fossa Syndrome it was incredibly hard for me and his dad. It’s obviously a devastating situation and we felt so helpless. It’s been a long journey, but he’s made massive progress, and is shortly about to receive chemotherapy to help treat the remaining cancer. The physio, arts, play and neurorehabilitation teams have all been absolutely incredible and feel like our family here. Obviously we can’t wait to get back home but there’s nowhere we’d rather be for Seb to get his treatment.’
Seb is one of many young children affected by a broad spectrum of neurological conditions that the neurosurgery and neurorehab service cares for and his progress is testament to the amazing and pioneering work that goes on behind Bristol Children’s Hospital doors.
If you’d like to fundraise for the Neurosurgical team and support their lifesaving work, get in touch with us on 0117 927 3888 or contact our fundraising team via [email protected]