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Young girl’s epilepsy scan found a rare brain tumour

Abbie, a young girl from Nottingham was diagnosed with a rare pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma brain tumour during a routine MRI scan for epilepsy.

Abbie Barons smiling despite an epilepsy scan revealing a brain tumour

In September 2020 Abbie was unexpectedly diagnosed with a brain tumour during a routine MRI scan for her epilepsy. She was immediately rushed into hospital to undergo emergency brain surgery. Despite everything, Abbie is determined to use her voice and her experience to raise awareness of brain tumours.

Epilepsy scan reveals a brain tumour

Jen and Abbie, speaking on how an epilepsy scan revealed a rare childhood brain tumour

What started out as a normal day ended with our world changing forever.

Jen, Abbie’s Mum

In the Spring of 2020 Abbie was diagnosed with epilepsy. She spent the coming months going through the usual checks to make sure everything was ok. However, that September, during a final MRI scan, doctors noticed something in her brain. And, sadly, Abbie was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She was admitted to hospital the same day and underwent eight hours of surgery a few days later.

The news was unexpected and had a big impact on Abbie and her family. Jen, Abbie’s mum said, “We knew surgery carried life changing and life threatening risks due to where the tumour was positioned but it was essential to do the biopsy to determine what type of tumour she had.” But Abbie’s strength, resilience and determination shone through in the days after her operation. In just 24 hours she was out of bed and three days post-surgery she was on her way home.

child smiling after surgery for a rare brain tumour

Abbie had a rare childhood brain tumour

“It was essential to do the biopsy to determine what type of tumour she had.”


Abbie was diagnosed with a Pleomorphic Xantho astrocytoma (PXA) tumour. This rare form of childhood brain tumour doesn’t usually show symptoms. Although low-grade, PXA tumours are known for being unresponsive to treatments, and so because of its position Abbie and her family can only ‘watch and wait’.

Abbie’s amazing fundraising for The Brain Tumour Charity

Abbie and her teachers in their Charity t-shirts before her special assembly  

“As a family we have been led by Abbie’s strength and courage to live her best life”


Despite an eventful two years, Abbie’s positive mind set has continued to shine through. So when her school wanted to raise money for a charity, Abbie immediately suggested The Brain Tumour Charity.

Abbie’s family have always encouraged her to be proud of who she is. But she hasn’t always been confident speaking about her experiences. That’s why when she came home from school to tell her parents she was going to be sharing her story in a special assembly they couldn’t believe it! Abbie’s mum Jen said ‘the resources from The Brain Tumour Charity have helped her so much and helped us as a family to support her’.

With the support and encouragement of her teachers, Abbie recorded a video about her experiences. This was played to the school to raise awareness of the reality and challenges of childhood brain tumours.

After sharing her video and a presentation about her time in hospital during the height of the pandemic in 2020, Abbie took the time to answer questions from her peers and teachers about her brain tumour diagnosis. Overall, the school raised an incredible £248.72 for The Charity.

The words “brain tumour” are something you never expect to hear and initially it’s absolutely terrifying but The Charity work tirelessly to remove that fear for everyone living with a brain tumour and the people supporting those living with a brain tumour.

Jen, Abbie’s Mum

Support and Fundraising

If you are affected by a brain tumour diagnosis, take a look at our support resources or call our support team on 0808 800 0004. If you’re inspired by Abbie’s story and want to know how you can get involved we have lots of resources for you and your school to get involved!