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Living with a brain tumour inspired Anna to write Little Nipper to the Rescue

Her children’s book is about the community bus she travelled on daily, having had to surrender her driving licence.

Anna stands with the book she wrote in front of the bus that inspired it

I wanted the story to relay the message that it doesn't matter what barriers you have, everyone has something to offer, and kindness and lack of judgement can make a difference even if you think it doesn't. More than anything I wanted to inspire children to believe that regardless of labels, barriers or ability – everyone will and can have a time to shine."


In this post we meet the author of Little Nipper to the Rescue and learn about how her brain tumour diagnosis inspired her to become an author.

Anna’s Story

Anna in hospital with her newborn baby - she was diagnosed with a brain tumour while 6 months pregnant

Anna Williams, 49, from Louth, Lincolnshire, was diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumour 13 years ago. Her symptoms started when she was six months pregnant and started experienced headaches and vision problems. 

Her midwife referred her to A & E where she was told it was likely to be caused by a combination of pregnancy hormones and sinusitis. She was admitted to the maternity ward for 24 hours observation and a camera investigation up her nose to check for signs of infection. Doctors saw signs of swelling so referred her for a CT scan, which she had to consent to as it’s not standard during pregnancy. 

Anna, who is married to Mark and Mum to Archie and Connie, said: “I knew inside something was not right. My vision had deteriorated, I was very sleepy & generally unable to function upright!” 

The CT scan showed a tumour in the right front temporal lobe and cavernous sinus. Experts from the neurology team in Hull gave advice and after further tests, Anna was told urgent intervention was needed because her pregnancy hormones were aiding the tumour’s growth at a rapid rate.  

Anna recalls: “On 25th February, just a month after diagnosis, I had my second baby, Connie, by c-section. Just six days later I had a craniotomy to remove the tumour. Due to its location, they were unable to remove all of it and stereotactic radiotherapy followed. A baby and a brain tumour – lucky me! 

“The following years have not been without challenges. I’ve had a regrowth, further stereotactic radiotherapy and surgery, and have developed epilepsy. I now have reduced sight and hearing on one side but despite all this I consider myself extremely lucky.  

“My critical illness life insurance paid out and that has provided us with a mortgage free home.  I’ve met some wonderful, caring people and learned a lot about myself. I have also suffered along the way with mental health challenges and some discrimination but have drawn on these experiences to highlight to others that regardless of the barriers you may face, we have a positive contribution to make.” 

How taking the bus inspired Anna’s book  

Anna stands with her book, Little Nipper to the Rescue. in front of the bus that inspired it

One of the side effects of Anna’s diagnosis was epilepsy, which she began experiencing in 2022. It meant she was no longer able to drive. So she started using the local bus – the Louth Nipper. At the same time, she started writing as a form of therapy. She was inspired by the other passengers she met on the bus and their kindnesses. 

“That little community bus opened my eyes to a whole new world of love and support. It gave me back my freedom and showed me that the little everyday unspoken gestures of kindness really do make a difference.

“It was much more than a mode of transport. I saw a whole different community on there I never knew existed and recognising this at one of the lowest points in my life  took me on a journey I never expected.

“Had I not got on that bus and changed the direction I was travelling, I doubt I would be where I am today.”

Writing Little Nipper to the Rescue

pile of Little Nipper to the Rescue books on a yellow surface

Anna’s children’s book, Little Nipper to the Rescue, is a direct result of those bus journeys.

“The book is about a little community bus that feels small and insignificant compared to those around him. He is unsure about himself and just wants to feel useful and have a purpose, all the feelings I experienced on my tumour and epilepsy journey.

“Through the support of his driver Little Nipper slowly realizes that everyone who hops on board does so for their own unique reasons, and he realizes that kindness spreads happiness, which has been a recurring theme on my medical journey.

“Although the story was inspired my tumour journey and my recovery using the Louth Nipper, it is not specifically referenced in the book as I didn’t want it to become all about the “labels” that go with my condition. I wanted it to be more about teaching readers acceptance of difference –  and overcoming barriers and pushing boundaries, whatever they are.

“I have learned that if you surround yourself with the right kind of support and the right kind of people, life is just much better even if we can’t change the things that are affecting us in the first place. For me it is my tumour, for Little Nipper it is his size. I want to inspire children to believe that regardless of labels, barriers, ability etc, everyone will and can have a time to shine.”

Supporting The Brain Tumour Charity

Little Nipper to the Rescue is available from Amazon and Waterstones.  For March, Brain Tumour Awareness Month,  £1 from every sale will be donated to The Brain Tumour Charity.