Heartbreak of Yorkshire family: 'We went for eye check and found our 13-year-old girl had brain tumour'

Lois Campling aged 13 with her mum Karen, her dad Lee and brother Connor aged 12, at their home at Garforth, Leeds.. Lois has recovered from a brain tumour.22nd September 2019. Picture by Simon Hulme
Lois Campling aged 13 with her mum Karen, her dad Lee and brother Connor aged 12, at their home at Garforth, Leeds.. Lois has recovered from a brain tumour.22nd September 2019. Picture by Simon Hulme
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THE FAMILY of a schoolgirl who thought she needed glasses were stunned to be told after an eye check that she had a brain tumour.

Lois Campling, now 13, was having her eyes tested when the optician told them to go straight to A&E.

Lois Campling aged 13 at her home at Garforth, Leeds.

Lois Campling aged 13 at her home at Garforth, Leeds.

Dad Lee Campling, an electrician, said: “We had to have Lois’s eyes tested and the optician said there was something in her eyes causing a problem. We were referred straight to the hospital, where she had a CT scan.”

Then they received the news they had been dreading: “That is when we were told she had a brain tumour. Treatment was fast, within a week or so with an operation to remove the tumour. It was a complete shock.”

Since that day in April 2016 Lois, who is in Year 9, has had further surgery and then 18 months of chemotherapy to try and shrink the tumour.

Lee, along with her mum Karen, a teacher and younger brother Connor, 12, have all been amazed at how resilient and strong she has been, while managing to continue her school work and start to study for her GCSEs.

Lois, who did not initially need glasses, but has to use them now following the surgery, said: “Life is great, I’ve just gone into Year 9 and am starting my GCSE courses. I’m not finding them stressful just yet, but that may change soon enough.

“I suppose life is busy, but I love it that way. I’m always on the go as I don’t like to sit around.

“I enjoy singing and a little bit of dancing, even though I’m not the best.

“At school I very much enjoy my drama lessons, especially since I have much more of them since taking it for GCSEs. Spanish is another favourite, it is so interesting to learn about another culture and be confident in speaking their language. I hope to one day be fluent.”

Dad Lee added: “Lois does not have and has not had cancer. Her brain tumour is not cancerous, but she did have 18 months of chemotherapy to try and shrink it.

“She still has the brain tumour and may always have it. She has MRI scans every 3-4 months to monitor it and if there is any change, then she may have to go back on treatment.

“For now though it is fingers crossed and all is going well.”

Sailing trip to help young people recover from a serious diagnosis

After her treatment Lois, from Garforth, Leeds has been supported by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, which helps to rebuild young people’s confidence following a serious diagnosis and provide the bridge between treatment and a young person seizing the future they may never imagined possible.

They take youngsters away on sailing trips aboard yachts to picturesque locations.

Lois explains: “When I first went on my sailing trip with the Ellen Macarthur Charity, I was slightly nervous of not knowing how to sail and no experience in doing so before.

“I was excited to learn new things. Everyone in the team, from the skippers to the doctors to the nurses and volunteers, were all absolutely amazing.

“Everyone was so helpful, kind, reassuring and willing to do whatever they could to help you. “Nothing was too much of a challenge for anyone and as much as it was a new experience for me, it was for most of the volunteers and nurses and doctors too.

“That was why I went back this year. After my last trip, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with excitement. I had stayed in touch with a lovely friend from my last trip and so we were looking forward to seeing each other too.

“I can’t wait for next year to make more friends and to learn so many more skills.

Lois said the sailing trips help young people who have been through similar serious illness and diagnosis: “It helps take you away from the struggles you’ve been facing at home and just allow you to enjoy yourselves without a worry or concern.

“Sailing alongside such supportive staff members makes you feel free and alive. Whilst the sailing is brilliant in itself, it is nice to know that all the other children sailing with you have been through similar experiences and this helps you make an instant connection with them all.

“As well as this, some of the volunteers have also been through these same difficulties making them all the more inspirational.

“The charity is here to let you know that they understand how life can put you down but that it doesn’t always have to be that way.

They make you feel so welcome onto the boats as part of their team whilst offering lots of encouragement for you to succeed.

“No one is left out at any point during the trip, regardless of their capabilities. It gives you something to look forward to and a chance, for some, to escape the confines of the hospital, even if it is just for a couple of days.”

More details www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org