Last year Cian, from Coventry, began complaining of ‘fuzzy’ headaches and feeling unwell.  

His mum, Louise, noticed his headaches were leaving him confused and he was sleeping a lot more than usual.  

Thinking it was just a growth spurt, she was shocked when Cian’s teacher rang to say he’d had a fit at school. He was rushed to the family’s local A&E where he was immediately sent for emergency scans, including an EEG and an MRI. He was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour.  

Louise and Paddy, Cian’s dad, were devastated when they were told the news. “I felt totally numb,” remembers Louise. “We never expected him to have a tumour. It all happened so quickly. We were all trying to reassure each other everything would be okay, but your mind goes to the worst-case scenario. It was terrifying.”  

Cian, now nine-years-old, was referred to our hospital’s expert neurosurgical team to have his tumour removed. “It was the longest day of our lives,” Paddy recalls. “He went down to sleep about 9am and we stayed with Cian while he received the anaesthetic, which was heartbreaking to watch. After that, we tried to keep ourselves busy, but it was as if the clocks had stopped and the longer it went on, the more anxious we felt. We just wanted to know he was awake and okay.” 

To check Cian’s operation had been a success he was taken, still anaesthetised, down to our current MRI suite two floors below. Sadly, Cian needed to return to theatre.   

“The second wait was the hardest,” continues Paddy. “My mind was racing thinking ‘this is such a long time for a child to be asleep’.”  

After an additional five hours in theatre, 13 hours in total, all the tumour was removed, and Cian was brought back to the ward, where he continued to recover. His seizures were cured.

Our new intraoperative MRI (iMRI) Appeal will change experiences for patients like Cian and his family.  

By making an MRI intraoperative, this means our neurosurgeons will be able to scan a patient during an operation to get real-time imagery of the brain. This will significantly reduce the time a patient spends under general anaesthetic, potentially take away the need for a second follow-up operation, improve a patient’s recovery time and reduce unnecessary fear and anxiety for families as they await a post-operative MRI, which is typically carried out up to three days after the operation.   

Louise added “The neurosurgical team at Birmingham Children’s Hospital were exceptional and the care and support they provided to Cian, myself and Paddy was incredible. By supporting this appeal, you will be helping them do the best job they can while reducing the stress for families like ours. You simply can’t put a price on the impact the new iMRI suite will have.” 

Donate to help us make iMRI technology a reality for kids like Cian.

Donate to our £1.5m iMRI Appeal