Woodbridge mother seeks to raise awareness of symptoms of brain tumours

Christina Lofthouse with Sophia and family. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Christina Lofthouse with Sophia and family. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

A Woodbridge mother whose three-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumour less than three years after a scan revealed she had one says she wants to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms.

Christina Lofthouse with Sophia. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Christina Lofthouse with Sophia. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

Christina Lofthouse, 36, said her “world came crashing down” when she found out her daughter Sophia had a tumour on her brain stem in December last year.

The devastating news came after Christina’s own diagnosis in February 2015, when a non-cancerous tumour was found in her left temporal lobe.

Christina has not required surgery and undergoes regular checks but Sophia did have an operation to remove 90% of her tumour at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on March 7.

She is currently recovering from the operation and biopsy results revealed it was a grade one (non-cancerous) pilocytic astrocytoma.

Sophia as a baby. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Sophia as a baby. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant


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Christina, who is married to Graham, and also mum to Ava, eight, and Reide, seven, as well as step-mum to Bethany, 20, Megan, 18 and Ellie, 16, wants other parents to be vigilant.

She said: “I always felt like I was being written off as a neurotic mother but I knew something wasn’t right from when Sophia was six-weeks-old.

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“I was constantly told not to compare the children but I knew something wasn’t right. Early diagnosis can often mean a better outcome.”

Sophia struggled to eat in the very early stages of her life but it was put down to reflux.

Christina Lofthouse with Sophia. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Christina Lofthouse with Sophia. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

Surgery on her oesophagus revealed it was not blocked but she continued to struggle to feed and dropped weight.

A scan finally revealed that Sophia had a tumour on the medulla part of her brain – which regulates swallowing and breathing.

Christina said: “The world came crashing down around me, I became numb I couldn’t make sense of it how it had taken so long for it to diagnosed and then when I looked at the symptoms of a brain tumour in that area Sophia’s symptoms tied in.”

Christina’s own symptoms started after Sophia was born in May 2014.

Initially, doctors put her symptoms of numbness on her left side and fatigue down to a difficult birth and being a new mum.

But a scan revealed a 2.5cm tumour and Christina says she has learned how to adjust to compensate the side effects of having a brain tumour.

Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “Our hearts go out to Christina, Graham and Sophia.

“It is extraordinarily cruel for one family to face the devastation of a brain tumour diagnosis not once but twice.

“Like Christina and Sophia, almost 11,000 people are diagnosed each year with a primary brain tumour, including 500 children and young people – that’s 30 a day.

“We are extremely grateful to Christina and Graham for sharing their story to help us raise awareness of brain tumours during Brain Tumour Awareness Month.”

Christina has set up a JustGiving page supporting the charity’s Big Bandana Bake – which is aiming to raise £150,000 to fund a life-saving research project – and held a cake sale and coffee morning on March 2 to support the campaign.

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