Cranfield family's Walk of Hope inspired by daughter who was told to go on a diet when she actually had a brain tumour
By the time she was diagnosed, Caroline's whole body was swollen
A Cranfield family has taken on a Walk of Hope, inspired by their daughter, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 13 after mistakenly being told she just needed to go on a diet.
Caroline Watson - along with her parents, Lisa and Mark, and partner Jack Mizen - walked 10 miles from Flitwick, where her mum and dad live, to the ruins of Houghton House in Ampthill, and back again. The event - on Saturday (September 26) - was just one many across the UK for Brain Tumour Research.
Caroline was first diagnosed with the brain tumour after an MRI scan in 2008 and was put on monthly injections to bring down over-production of a growth hormone. Later that year, the tumour was found to have grown so she underwent surgery to remove it. Sadly, her pituitary gland was damaged and Caroline will have to take medication for the rest of her life to protect her kidneys.
But as Caroline - now aged 26 - says, it was a long road to get to that point.
She said: “Initially I wasn’t aware that I had a problem, but mum knew from when I was nine that something wasn’t right and refused to be fobbed off by GPs who told her to put me on a diet or take me to Weight Watchers.
"By the time mum managed to get a doctor to take it seriously, I was 13 years old, 5ft 10in, had size 9 feet and was wearing a size 16 to 18 in clothes – my body looked swollen. And my face too was swollen with my eyes sunken into my face.”
In 2017, Caroline - who has annual scans to monitor her pituitary gland - underwent further surgery because the tumour had regrown. She now suffers with daily headaches.
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are very grateful to Caroline for her support and thank her and her family for joining in our Walks of Hope.”
To donate to Caroline’s fundraising, visit here