Young boy diagnosed with brain tumour after family friend noticed he kept knocking things over

Five-year-old Samuel Bourdillon was diagnosed with a brain tumour after family friend and physiotherapist Sue Francis spotted the symptoms. 

Samuel Bourdillon in hospitalDad, Paul, and mum, Karen said they noticed Samuel's balance beginning to worsen last year. He also suffered occasional headaches, lost his appetite and developed dark rings under his eyes. His parents feared he might have dyspraxia but it was only when putting the symptoms together did they fear something more serious. Their friend explained it could be a brain tumour and told them to visit a doctor. Samuel's GP referred him to a paediatrician and he underwent a brain scan just days before his fifth birthday. The results were sent to a consultant at King's - who told his parents to put him in an ambulance immediately, as they needed to operate that night. By 6pm that day Samuel was in surgery undergoing an operation to relieve the excess fluid on his brain, and two days later the tumour was removed. Paul said: "It was a huge shock for us. The surgeon told us we were very lucky our friend had spotted the signs when she did. "It all happened at once. We both thought we were going to lose him. When we got to the hospital the neuro-surgeon said we had just caught it in time. He said Samuel would have been dead within days." Doctors were able to remove 90 per cent of the tumour, which was benign, but Sam, still faces a long road to recovery. He developed a post-operative condition called posteria fossa syndrome, and the trauma robbed him of his motor neurone skills and he is still unable to talk. The hard times were tempered by a visit from diving star Tom Daley, who lost his own father to a brain tumour. He even invited Samuel to watch him in action at the Olympic training pool in Stratford.Samuel Bourdillon in the pool with Tom Daley Paul said: "It was an extremely nice thing for him to have done. Samuel really enjoyed it and it was good to see him back in the water." He added: "They don't know what causes it and you can never tell which patients are going to get it. And once you do have it you can never tell how long you're going to be in rehab. "It could be days, weeks - Samuel's is likely to be months, but hopefully not years. He had to re-learn all his motor skills. He couldn't even lift his arms. He can walk about 40 or 50 metres now without support, but he's still not speaking." Not hearing their son's voice for three months is a hard pill to swallow for his devoted parents. Paul added: "It's been the most difficult thing for us and him. When I listened to his voice on a video the other day I'd almost forgotten what it sounded like. It's hugely frustrating for him because he can't tell us what he wants and sometimes we can't understand what he's trying to say. "We've had some difficult times." Samuel's parents have lined up a trip to Centre Parcs as a treat for when he gets out of hospital. He and Karen have also set up an online appeal to help fund an awareness campaign. Paul said: "Samuel is such a brave boy and is doing incredibly well, but it could have been a completely different story if not for my friend recognising the signs." The campaign has already raised more than £14,000.Samuel Bourdillon with parents
Share page
Print page
Follow us