Mum's remarkable testimony of how her daughter survived a brain tumour helps to raise £2,000 for charity
The family of a 12-year-old girl that survived a brain tumour and suffered with epilepsy are thanking people for raising over £2,000 for a charity close to their heart.
Ella, of Sutton, suffered a brain tumour when she was only two-years-old and fought through it all to become the ‘strong-minded’ and ‘amazing’ girl she is today.
In June of 2008, Ella’s family were at a Father’s Day meal at The Anchor in Sutton, and in what should have been a normal family meal, it quickly turned into the family’s worst nightmare.
Sally Bibby, Ella’s mum, said that Ella’s arm and hand were “stuck to her head” and after repeatedly asking her to stop and eat her dinner, she just couldn’t seem to move it.
After it eventually came down, Sally took Ella home and put her to bed as normal.
The next morning, Sally and her husband, Sid, had a bad feeling and decided to stay at home with Ella.
The landscaping business owners were chatting with their neighbour outside, when the couple’s childminder, Kirsty Windle, came out to say Ella was “doing a weird thing with her arm” and she “couldn’t wake her”.
Ella-Rose is one of three children, her sister Livvy, who was eight at the time, and her brother James, who was 11.
The family’s neighbour, Ron Harper, who was around 80-years-old at the time and has since passed away, warned Sally that Ella had a brain blockage and they should call an ambulance.
They were taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and after days of testing, Sally and Sid were asked to see Ella’s consultant.
Sally describes the walk to his office as “the hardest and longest walk we would make” and explained that in the worst cause scenario, she thought Ella had epilepsy.
It was that day that doctors revealed that Ella had a slow-growing brain tumour and that she would be admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
After months of “endless trips” to GOSH for scans and appointments, Ella returned to nursery, and one final meeting revealed that Ella’s tumour had started to get bigger and it was time to get it removed.
Sally said: “I find talking about the hours of her operation hard, you cry, you nip pick at each other and stare at notice boards but don’t take anything in.
“Before she went into the operation we were told she would lose much of the feeling in her left arm and with physiotherapy she would be able to use it again but it might always be weak.”
The operation was a success – the first thing Ella did was squeeze her mum’s hand, which sally described as “like when you give birth and the baby grips your little finger for the first time”.
Ella, now 12-years-old, still suffers with epilepsy and a stammer, however Sally says the epilepsy has reduced “so much” and Ella is receiving speech therapy for her stammer.
Sally said: “She is beautiful, strong minded and has a brilliant time at school where she has lots of friends.
“Her passion is riding, family, seeing her friends, shopping, sports, her ponies and cats.”
Sharing her story online, a fund-raising page was setup to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity, which provides support to families in the position of Ella’s.
With a modest goal of £300, the page has now successfully raised £2,027 – which is 575 per cent more than what they were aiming for.
This month, Ella hosted a ‘Bandanna and Bake’ event, raising £238 for the charity adding to the family’s grand total.
Sally said: “The charity needs more awareness and money to help families like ours that were going along a normal path one day and the next we were on the rollercoaster of a brain tumour.
“Please give anything you can it would mean the world to us and Ella, who for the first time has let me write about what happened to her.”
For more information about Ella’s story and to donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sally-bibby