Ipswich: Little star Kaylen back at school after brain tumour op

FOR little Kaylen O’Connor the last six months have been fraught with challenges.

Diagnosed with a brain tumour in February, he faced an eight-and-a-half-hour operation to remove part of the disease.

Due to the position of the tumour – wrapped around Kaylen’s optic nerves – the six-year-old is now totally blind.

At the time doctors could not say whether the tumour would claim his life.

But despite all he has faced the brave youngster is now learning to read Braille and is back at school – and on the road to recovery.


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The Star has nominated Kaylen for this year’s Stars of Suffolk awards, in the Young Person of the Year category, in recognition of all he has been through.

His father Derek, of Shakespeare Road, told The Star the last few months had been “terribly difficult”.

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But he proudly exclaimed “he [Kaylen] really deserves the recognition,” when hearing the news his son has been put forward for the accolade.

“It is hard, he is not the same little boy as he was before the op,” he said.

“He can find it all very frustrating at times.

“But he is doing so well, learning Braille and how to cope getting about without his sight.

“He is never going to see again, but the tumour hasn’t grown, according to his latest scan.

“What happened to him is irreversible but at least we have him here with us.”

Kaylen, a pupil at Thomas Wolsey and Whitton Primary School, lives at home with his dad and older siblings, Cody, eight, and Thaine, nine.

Excruciating headaches leaving the then five-year-old in agony alerted his dad to the fact something was wrong.

He was first taken to see doctors in December 2010 but it wasn’t until he had an eye test two months later that the alarm was raised and he was taken to Ipswich Hospital.

From there medics transferred him to the specialist centre at the Cambridgeshire hospital for immediate action to operate, which saw around half of his tumour removed.

“It has taken its toll on the whole family,” added Mr O’Connor.

“It has been tough but we are pleased we have got Kaylen home now.

“He really deserves recognition for all he has faced and I am so pleased he has been nominated for this award.”

n Have you faced a similar struggle? Write to health reporter Lizzie Parry at Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail lizzie.parry@archant.co.uk

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