The mum of a teenage boy left paralysed after a brain tumour diagnosis has expressed her shock – after medics thought it was anxiety.
Mum Kirsty Newton, 38, from Manchester, knew something wasn’t right after her son, Jayce Robinson, 15, began suffering from nausea and dizzy spells aged just 13.
The talented footballer, who had spent a season as top goal scorer at one the two local football teams he played for, soon grew unsteady on his feet and also complained of losing his hearing.
Doctors suggested his dizzy spells might be vertigo – but it tragically turned out to be symptoms of an underlying brain tumour.
Shocked Kirsty told NeedToKnow.online: “We kept taking him to the GP and they couldn’t find anything that could be causing it.
“They gave him anti-sickness medication and said it could be vertigo or anxiety.
“It was getting worse and he started collapsing with the dizzy spells so we were waiting on an ENT appointment to come through.
“He played for two football teams and was the top goal scorer. Then one season, when his symptoms were getting worse, he could hardly play as he couldn’t concentrate and could feel himself nearly collapsing on the pitch.
“His sick and dizzy episodes seem to get worse the more active he was, whereas before he loved going to the gym five days a week with his friends and loved staying fit and healthy.”
Mum Kirsty often feared her son having an episode whilst he was away from her and in December 2021 her worst fear came true.
She said: “Jayce collapsed at school whilst doing P.E. His teacher rang me to say he had passed out was being sick and could hardly move.
“When I got there I was shocked by just how poorly he was. His teacher drove us to A&E as there were no ambulances available straight away.”
To her surprise, Jayce’s test results came back as normal – but it wasn’t long before his health would take another turn.
Just days after his last episode, Jayce would collapse whilst playing football with friends, but once again his test results would return as normal.
Kirsty said: “I was just upset and worried all the time as I just couldn’t give him any answers as to why he’s feeling like this.”
Months later, Jayce was called for an ENT appointment at Pendleton Gateway, but doctors initially thought his symptoms could be related to migraines, sending him for an MRI just to be safe.
Just 20 minutes after his scan at Trafford General Hospital, Kirsty received a phone call from Manchester Royal Children’s Hospital.
She said: “They said they wanted me to bring Jayce down to the children’s emergency department where a neurosurgeon, Dr Kamaly, was waiting to see him.
“My heart sank as I knew it wasn’t going to be good news. Jayce was calm and was the one telling me not to worry.
“The doctor was amazing with us. He sat us both down and explained to Jayce the scan had revealed a large tumour on the left side of his head behind his ear, between the skull and the brain and they would need to operate to remove it.
“I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t believe what I was being told. I looked at Jayce and the colour drained out of him. He did say he felt relieved knowing what it is finally and something can be done about it.
“The tumour was 4cm by 3cm and that was what had been causing his hearing loss and all the sickness and collapsing. I was shocked when I saw the scan picture. I couldn’t believe the size of it.
“It was the scariest time of my life. I was heartbroken to think he’d gone all these years with a tumour [growing inside his head] and him suffering.”
Jayce was sent to rest at the children’s hospital, and continued to smile and tell those around him he would smash his surgery.
On 30 May, Jayce finally went down for his operation, with the surgery taking 16 hours in total.
As a result of the surgery, Jayce was left with permanent hearing loss and is now deaf in his left ear, as doctors had to drill into this area to remove the tumour and cut into the skull.
His devoted parents never left his side during the procedure, even staying in a Ronald McDonald charity house to be close by to their brave son.
Kirsty said: “Jayce was still smiling and was determined he was going to smash the operation and his recovery and that’s what he did! He’s an amazing kid and was still positive even though I knew he was scared.
“That’s what kept me going. I couldn’t break down while he was being so strong.
“Six weeks Jayce stayed in the hospital overall, but just two weeks after his operation he was home.
“They said if he could master going up and down the stairs with the physio he could go home, so he smashed it and was allowed to come home to us and his sister and two younger brothers, which he couldn’t wait for.”
Jayce has been left deaf and with facial paralysis, but his doctors are hopeful he will fully recover within 12 months.
Kirsty added: “He’s coping OK, just very tired all the time and has headaches and trouble sleeping at night.
“He also struggles with his left eye and is self-conscious of how his face has changed because of the paralysis.
“He’s lost some weight from being poorly and struggled to eat properly for a few weeks after, but he is determined after the 12-week rest and recovery he will be working on getting back to being fit and healthy.
“He’s always trying to stay positive but does have his down days.
“He’s getting stronger all the time and he can’t wait to get back to the gym and playing football again.”