The family of a young Motherwell girl diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor have raised nearly £14,000 for the charities helping her through her battle.
Brave Ladywell Primary School pupil Kara McInally’s journey began when she started suffering on and off headaches just before Christmas last year.
Following a painful migraine, her mum and dad – Laura and Kevin – booked an eye appointment thinking she may need glasses.
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The couple were left devastated after the optician discovered swelling on Kara’s optic nerve, which required a fast referral to optimology at Hairmyres Hospital.
Within a few hours and following a CT scan, the family were then packing a bag for an overnight stay at the Glasgow Children’s Hospital, where an MRI scan found a tumor on Kara’s brain.
That needed emergency surgery the next day to remove the mass from the seven-year-old’s brain.
Shocked and scared, her parents turned to family and friends for support as well as being directed to the Brain Tumor Charity and Young Lives Versus Cancer who have been a great help to the McInally’s over the last five months.
So much so, they decided to hold a charity evening at Hamilton Accies Football Club late last month and were delighted and overwhelmed to have raised a total of £13,674.21 to be split equally between the two charities.
Laura told Lanarkshire Live: “These last few months have been a whirlwind – everything happened in a matter of days.
“From an eye test, to Hairmyres with a fluid mass and then being told we had to go to Glasgow and then that Kara had a brain tumor and needed surgery the next day. It was all very surreal.
“We didn’t know what to do or where to start with things like explaining what was happening to her, telling other people, and then of course we also had to think and decide upon the correct treatment for our daughter.
“It was just a minefield of information overload.
“Thankfully we were told about Young Lives Versus Cancer and the Brain Tumor Charity who have been amazing with Kara and the whole family, helping us to understand what is going on and even assisting financially and treating Kara to some special gifts too.
“For these reasons we decided to hold the charity event and we were completely overwhelmed with the response, the donations, the prizes – literally everything was just fantastic and we are so pleased to be able to hand over this sum to both organisations.”
Having undergone her surgery, Kara and the family then moved their lives to Manchester for six weeks earlier this year where the pretty youngster underwent 33 grueling proton therapy sessions before ringing the bell to signal the end of her treatment.
She then returning home to Motherwell for the next part of her journey.
Now the youngster – dubbed a “sassy wee lassie” – will begin chemotherapy treatment this week in the hope of ridding her brain of the horrific disease.
Laura added: “Kara had the surgery to remove the tumor prior to Christmas but in January, after a biopsy, they told us it was indeed cancer.
“From there we decided upon the proton treatment in Manchester as it is less invasive on her brain than radiotherapy treatment.
“She smashed it though and all her treatments to date have gone to plan – 33 sessions of proton Monday to Friday over six long weeks.
“Now though she requires chemotherapy, which will be given over the next few months and will be very tough. We’ve been told she’ll need our help a lot more with things like getting dressed and visiting the toilet etc. as a little bit of her independence will be taken this time around.
“But she’s a trooper and is staying positive throughout it all.
“At the end of Kara’s chemotherapy treatment she will be monitored every few months for the rest of her life with medics saying there is a 25 per cent chance of a relapse within the first five years – something we refuse to focus on.
“We’ve also been told there will be a lot more treatment risks this time around and in her future such as blood clots, possible fertility issues, hair loss throughout her life ut we don’t look into that too much right now in fact Kara just plods on as normal and goes off to school quite the thing.
“She is an absolute wee character, battling bravely, as sassy as ever and we’re just remaining positive and helping her through this journey in her young life.
“She is our very own wee superwoman and we are so proud of her.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.