Kayleigh's Story

Esme Lloyd-Kelly

29th October 2022

In 1998, at the age of 4, Kayleigh was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour. Her parents were told that she was unlikely to make it through the next 24 hours. The tumour was already a considerable size and its location meant it was putting pressure on her optic nerve.

Emergency surgery was arranged and within 24 hours the surgeons had successfully removed 90% of the tumour and inserted a Ventriculoperitoneal (also known as a VP Shunt) to help her brain cope with the severe build-up of fluid.

After six weeks in hospital Kayleigh was able to leave and spend time at home with her family. However, over the course of the next few weeks Kayleigh’s tumour continued to grow and her VP Shunt needed regular maintenance so it could be cleared or changed.

Treatment continued throughout Kayleigh’s childhood, from appointments to surgery and courses of chemotherapy. This meant that Kayleigh missed out on a lot of school and needed 1-1 support with her learning. She was also diagnosed with autism and aspergers in 2019.

However, Kayleigh has never allowed her diagnosis to affect her goals and ambitions. She has always wanted to help others and as a result of a childhood spent in and out of hospitals Kayleigh has a great understanding of the emotions of children and is marvellously able to empathise with their experiences.

Kayleigh is now 28 years old. Despite the doctors saying it was unlikely she would make it to her teenage years Kayleigh has completed Levels 1 and 2 in Childcare and now fulfils an important role as a Play Assistant at University Hospitals Birmingham Trust.

Kayleigh loves the work she does at the hospital as she has the opportunity to put smiles on children’s faces and bring joy and comfort when they need it most. She is always coming up with new ideas to keep them entertained and distracted from the realities they face.

Kayleigh is also now learning to drive and is looking forward to driving herself to work in the future. She also offers support to other patients who are living with a brain tumour.

Kayleigh will continue to work with The Giles’ Trust and University Hospitals Birmingham Charity to raise money and increase awareness on the issues around living with a brain tumour.

Thank you Kayleigh for sharing your story – you are so inspiring to so many.

If you would like to support other patients like Kayleigh, please donate now.

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