The acclaimed television presenter, producer and author has lent her support after revealing her son’s brain tumour diagnosis
“On my husband’s birthday in 2016 we were told that it was likely that our fifteen year old son Fred would die. A moment that will live in my heart forever.”
Philippa’s son Fred started suffering from exhaustion and struggling to concentrate at school back in 2015 but everyone assured her it was normal for a teenager.
However, when persistent headaches kept happening, Philippa sought medical advice: “I took him to the doctor, who said they were migraines, which made perfect sense because that’s what my husband and I both have.”
But the painkillers prescribed to Fred had little effect. “Sometimes there would be three or four days of quite a lot of pain without him being able to get on top of it, so that was quite worrying.”
“The headaches were also waking him up, and one morning he came out of his room and vomited.”
During the 2016 summer holidays, Fred was still complaining that his computer screen was making his head hurt, something was not right. Another trip to another doctor followed.
“The eye doctor said, ‘I want you to have an MRI scan immediately.”
After arriving at hospital, Fred had a huge seizure
“His whole body went rigid. His eyes went into the back of his head; he was groaning; he smashed his head against the wall. I tried to hold him but I just couldn’t, so my husband ran to get help. We were rushed to an emergency room.”
Fred’s scans revealed a rare PGNT glioma brain tumour. For Fred’s parents, the news was devastating.
Following surgery and regular scans Fred, now 17, has made a good recovery, his resilience shining through.
Philippa has now become one of our High Profile Supporters, backing the work of our HeadSmart symptom awareness campaign and championing the work we do towards finding a cure.
We are incredibly grateful for all her family’s support.
“Early diagnosis is key. If I hadn’t taken him to the eye doctor we could have lost him. Often the tumour isn’t spotted and the person just dies because there isn’t time to save them.
“We have been incredibly lucky.”
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