The family of a brave nine-year-old girl from Scole living with a brain tumour say they have been “overwhelmed” by the support in their campaign to raise awareness of the condition.
Maisie Harvey, a pupil at Scole Primary School, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour last September, at the age of just eight.
She and her family and friends are now taking part in Wear A Hat Day, a social media awareness campaign organised by medical charity Brain Tumour Research, which runs throughout tomorrow.
They have brought in more than £1,800 for the cause at the time of going to press.
Nicky Harrison, Maisie’s aunt, told the Diss Express: “Maisie has been absolutely amazing. No one at nine years old should have to face what she has, but she has been so mature and she is dealing with it incredibly well.”
Miss Harrison said the scarcity of information about the disease, and the fact that less than one per cent of national cancer research funding is allocated to understanding brain cancers, had compelled the family to get involved.
“One of the hardest things has been not being able to get concrete answers,” she said.
“Brain tumours are very hard to diagnose, and even harder to treat. You’re stuck in a ‘watch and wait’ scenario, because the doctors can’t give you any certainties. It’s been a very trying time for the whole family.
“I was really shocked by some of the statistics. There’s a disgusting lack of funding for brain tumour research.”
Maisie received her diagnosis after several weeks of headaches, sickness and tiredness. The family was told treatments like chemotherapy and radiation have limited success and are particularly unsafe for young children.
Miss Harrison stated her niece had been doing much better since undergoing a procedure to fit a shunt to her skull, which drains fluid from her brain to her stomach to reduce symptoms, following two complex operations.
She added: “When I came across the Wear A Hat Day campaign, I thought it was such a simple concept and given the success of social campaigns like the Ice Bucket Challenge, it seemed crazy not to get behind something that could have such an impact.
“We smashed our donations target within a few hours.
“I have been overwhelmed by the kindness not just of friends and family, but also complete strangers.”
The initiative is also being backed by Scole Primary School, which has asked pupils to wear hats for the day, and The Angel Cafe in Fair Green, Diss, is holding a cake sale fundraiser, also tomorrow.
Anybody wishing to make a donation is encouraged to either visit www.justgiving.com/wear-a-hat-for-maisie or alternatively text WAHD55 £5 to 70070, which will pledge £5 to Brain Tumour Research.
For further details about how to participate in Wear A Hat Day, see www.braintumourresearch.org/wearahatday