The Avengers of Hull!
Her little boy loves Captain America, but laura sneed, 29, has a different hero...
Aflash of blue and red zoomed past the telly and jumped onto the settee.
Captain America – otherwise known as my little boy Bailey, 6 – was charging around the living room.
‘Saving the world again,’ I smiled.
Bailey was a typical little lad, always going a mile a minute.
He loved superheroes, and if he wasn’t dressed as Captain America, he’d be pretending he was Iron Man. He had the energy of both combined!
Until February 2016, when he changed overnight...
‘Mummy, my head hurts,’ he cried one day.
‘Now, now baby,’ I hushed, giving him Calpol.
But, plagued by throbbing headaches, Bailey would occasionally be sent home from school.
Grouchy and tired, he’d curl up in his room, lights out, curtains shut tight.
His superhero costumes didn’t get a look-in.
So unlike my normally bubbly boy.
‘Maybe they’re migraines?’ I fretted to my husband Stephen, 32.
But Bailey was so young.
children Ruby-jo, then 10, and Lexi, 4, had never been through anything like this.
Stroking Bailey’s head as he slept, I was concerned. No painkillers helped. ‘Keep a headache diary,’ our GP suggested, ‘Then we can see if there’s a pattern.’
Weeks later, though, Bailey was still suffering, only doctors couldn’t figure out why. Poor thing.
Back and forth to the
GP over the following eight months, Bailey was on all types of painkillers, but they made him tired and sick.
By now, I was pregnant again, and so worried about our boy.
Finally, Bailey was referred to Hull Royal Infirmary for tests.
Then, on 28 November 2016, I had
my daughter Lacie.
A full-time mum-of-four, I had to stay home while Stephen took Bailey to hospital for an MRI scan on 8 December.
‘Doctors are going to find out what’s wrong,’ I said, hugging my frightened little lad.
Hours on, I was breastfeeding when the phone rang.
‘You need to get here now,’ Stephen choked. ‘They’ve found something.’
I took a taxi to drop my older two girls off at my mum’s, and then continued to the hospital.
There, Stephen and I were ushered into a room.
‘Bailey has a brain tumour,’ doctors explained. Please, no! They couldn’t tell us more, but made plans to transfer Bailey to Leeds General Hospital for specialist care. After, I barely slept… Why Bailey? For the next few days, I almost forgot I was a new mum. I wanted answers, now. But there were none. Bailey had to stay in hospital while doctors ran countless tests. ‘Why am I here, Mummy?’ he h asked me.
‘There’s a little lump on your brain,’ I explained softly.
‘Don’t worry, the doctors will make it better,’ Stephen said.
And, eventually, they were able to tell us more.
‘Bailey has a cerebellopontine angle (CPA) meningioma tumour,’ the consultants said.
It was so rare in a child, they couldn’t put my mind at rest – they simply had no answers.
Though the endless MRI scans confirmed it was non-cancerous, growing on the brain surface, they daren’t operate to remove it.
‘Bailey could lose his eyesight, hearing and mobility,’ we were warned.
Too risky. I felt numb. Sent home, Bailey was put on a ‘watch and wait’ list.
Christmas was cancelled, we were too shocked to celebrate.
Afterwards Bailey had scans every three months.
The Brain Tumour Charity gave us fun colouring books and pyjamas for Bailey, after finding out from the hospital about his tumour.
Thankfully, after scans in January, doctors confirmed the tumour hadn’t grown.
Medication helped his headaches, too.
He was such a trouper, only ever off school if he had a really bad headache.
Slowly, Bailey returned to his bubbly self.
And that meant one thing – the superhero passion was back!
‘What do you fancy watching?’ I’d ask each day.
Bailey’s answer was always the same…
‘ The Avengers!’ he beamed. A daily dose of his beloved superheroes worked wonders.
Now 7, Bailey only gets the odd headache every few months.
Biannual scans show his tumour hasn’t grown, either.
Ruby-jo, 11, has been hit the hardest, worrying about her baby brother.
But Bailey’s a little lionheart.
Wanting to give something back to The Brain Tumour Charity, we decided to do a sponsored walk for it.
‘Can there be superheroes?’ Bailey asked. Obviously!
Through Facebook k and word of mouth, we rallied friends, family and schoolchildren.
And, on 8 October last year, 40 kids dressed as everything from the Hulk to Iron n Man turned up for Bailey’s superhero walk at East Park, in our home town of Hull. Our very own local heroes! Leading the way, Bailey, dressed as Captain America, charged ahead.
It was supposed to be a 10K walk (over six miles), but we managed four miles. And raised £230 for The Brain Tumour Charity.
Bailey’s face was a picture when Captain America presented him with a medal and a trophy at the end.
It haunts me every day what could happen to my brave boy.
After a checkup this January, we got more positive news – that there was no growth.
It’s a waiting game until our next scan in six months time.
But Bailey’s still charging around impersonating his idol.
And whatever happens, we’ll be ready for action.
Captain America might be Bailey’s hero, but my boy will wi always y be mine.
Ruby-jo,lexi and Bailey – oh, and Iron Man!