Chesterfield baby battles rare brain cancer

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A mum has spoken of her devastation after medics revealed her baby’s illness was not due to a milk allergy as first thought – but a rare and aggressive brain cancer.

When baby Lucy, now one, started suffering from severe vomiting in July, mum Tracey Evison took her straight to Chesterfield Royal Hospital, where doctors suspected she might have a cows milk allergy.

But when her condition didn’t improve after a few weeks worried Tracey, of Joseph Fletcher Drive, Wingerworth, took her daughter to an out-of-hours surgery and medics gave the tot a CT scan, which revealed a growth in her brain. Lucy was immediately rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for surgery – and underwent a gruelling 12-hour operation to remove as much of the growth as possible.

After the operation, brave Lucy underwent an MRI scan.

But the results proved to be heartbreaking for parents Tracey, 34, and her 37-year-old partner Paul Needham – as doctors revealed Lucy had an extremely rare form of brain cancer, which she might not survive.

Tracey, a school improvement officer, said: “It was devastating to be told that Lucy had cancer – just heartbreaking.

“The surgery meant she was in hospital all day too – for 12 hours. It was the longest day of our lives.”

Since the diagnosis of an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour (ATRT) in August – brave Lucy has battled through numerous rounds of chemotherapy and spent nearly all her life in hospital.

But the tot will face her biggest obstacle in December, when she will undergo a month-long chemotherapy session – in near isolation.

Because of this, Tracey said there will be early Christmas celebrations for Lucy, her brother Jack, 12, and sister Molly, 6.

“It’s going to be a lot to take for Lucy this December,” said Tracey.

“She’ll be so fragile and so prone to infection that only doctors, myself and Paul will be allowed in to see her.

“We don’t know if this round of chemotherapy will be successful or not, but all we can do is to stay positive.”

“We had to celebrate Lucy’s birthday in hospital last Friday too,” added Tracey.

“We decorated her cot up and had a bit of a party for her.”

Tracey said that the support her family has received from charities – including The Children’s Hospital Charity, Sick Children’s Trust and PACT, among others – during this difficult time has been “truly amazing”.

And as a result, Tracey is aiming to raise “as much money as possible” at a charity auction on January 24 at the Smithy Pond, in Wingerworth.

Tracey is urging businesses, and members of the public, who have been touched by Lucy’s story to donate prizes that can be auctioned for charity.

For more information, email Tracey on or call 07403257815.