Blog: Ewan and Kerrie's story

Kerrie tells us of her joy as her son Ewan starts grammar school after a double brain tumour battle

Ewan was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2010 at the age of five.

He underwent 12-hour surgery which severely damaged his neck and jaw muscles but after fighting his way back to recovery the tumour recurred in 2012. A further ten-hour operation followed.

His family were told that the surgery was a success and after a scan late last year he has been given the all clear.

Kerrie told us:We are immensely proud of Ewan for all the hard work he put in to gain his place at grammar school. He has overcome so much after brain tumours aged five and seven, and he was determined that the tumours were not going to stop him from getting into a grammar school.

“When we watched him in hospital we would not have dared to dream that he would now be starting secondary school!"

The family are now urging others to be brain tumour aware and are supporting the distribution of over 35,000 wallet-sized HeadSmart symptoms cards to all GP surgeries throughout Northern Ireland.

“The HeadSmart campaign is so vitally important in raising awareness with GPs and parents on the symptoms of brain tumours in young children through to young adults. Ewan's symptoms, like many others, could have been picked up far quicker had we, or the doctors, been aware of them.”

Since it was launched in June 2011, the HeadSmart campaign has reduced the time it takes on average to diagnose a childhood brain tumour in the UK from more than 13 weeks to less than seven. The aim is to reduce the diagnosis time to 4 weeks in line with NHS cancer targets.

Possible symptoms of a brain tumour include:

  • persistent/recurrent headaches
  • vomiting
  • balance
  • co-ordination problems
  • abnormal eye movements
  • blurred or double vision
  • behaviour change

Richard Devlin, operations manager for The Brain Tumour Charity in Northern Ireland, said: “We are so pleased for Ewan, he is a real inspiration and we wish him the best of luck at his new school.

“We are immensely grateful to the MacKerrachers for raising awareness of HeadSmart. Symptoms of a brain tumour are often difficult to diagnose early because of their similarity to other common ailments.
“We are committed to making the greatest possible impact on the lives of everyone affected by this disease, to defending the most amazing part of the human body, and together defeating brain tumours.”