Ryan was just 4 when he started having seizures. After seven months of begging (and offering to pay), our hospital eventually gave him an MRI scan – call it mother’s instinct but I knew there was a brain tumour there.
After an initial misdiagnosis of neurofibromatosis, a biopsy confirmed Ryan had a brain tumour – a pilocytic astrocytoma, which was later reclassified as a pilomyxoid astrocytoma.
Ryan underwent major surgery to debulk the tumour. This failed to remove all of it, however, and we were told to prepare for a daunting 86 weeks of chemotherapy. This kept the tumour at bay for a while, but a few years later, when Ryan was ten, it was found to be growing again.
Ryan was fortunate to be approved for proton beam therapy in the US, and we relocated as a family to Jacksonville, Florida, for nine weeks of treatment in 2015. Once there, a new tumour was discovered, but happily, the proton therapy worked – causing the new tumour to disappear, and keeping the remaining part of the first tumour dormant.
Ryan is now a sports-mad teenager who plays golf to a high standard and cricket for Grimsby Town, and recently celebrated his eighteenth birthday.
In 2010, we set up The Ryan Piggott Fund and have been raising funds for The Brain Tumour Charity ever since.
“Until you are in this awful situation, you have no idea how you would cope. Your child’s life is in the hands of others and you are completely and utterly helpless. The way I have coped as his mum is to fundraise and raise awareness of this terrible disease.
Tracey Piggott, Ryan’s Mum
“Brain tumours are the biggest killer in children and the under 40’s and is still so underfunded – the statistics have not moved on in over 40 years. The fact that Ryan is here is down to pure luck. The wonderful team at Sheffield and in Jacksonville are clearly responsible too – but if more money went into research and funding of this killer, then more parents would be able to celebrate 18th birthdays with their children like we did with Ryan – rather than visiting their graves.”