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Brave Billy's first steps on long road to recovery
A BRAVE two-year-old boy has started his battle back to health after undergoing a 10-hour emergency operation to remove a brain tumour.
Billy Tyler and his parents, Debbie Reynolds and Gary Tyler, are readying themselves for a long stay at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where the tot is preparing to start an eight-month course of chemotherapy.
Their ordeal began when Miss Reynolds became concerned about Billy’s health after he was sleeping far more than usual, being sick and coughing up mucus almost constantly.
She was initially told the symptoms were not uncommon for a child Billy’s age and that he would grow out of it.
But her concerns remained and when he took a turn for the worse she rushed him to accident and emergency at Worcester, where he was immediately admitted.
A scan showed up a medulloblastoma – a malignant brain tumour more common in young children – and then the “whirlwind” began for Billy and his parents as he was dashed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for his life-saving surgery and to begin his long journey to recovery.
Now the Worcester community is rallying round the family, who live in Diglis, with thousands of messages of support on Billy’s own Facebook site and an ever-increasing list of people queueing up to raise money for their cause.
Miss Reynolds, aged 32, described the response as “absolutely overwhelming” and said it was helping her and her “little trooper” battle through the difficult times.
“It means a huge amount to us as a family. We knew Billy would have messages and visitors but we didn’t realise there would be a response like this,” she said. “Billy is doing okay. He has a long journey ahead of him but he is very strong-minded.
“He is a real little trooper and everyone who knows him knows that he is a really good, gorgeous little boy. I think that is why there is so much support behind him.”
Billy’s parents are by his bedside day and night and are being supported by Ronald McDonald House, a charity that provides “home away from home” accommodation at hospitals to enable families to stay close to their child and maintain a degree of normal family life.
Miss Reynolds said the charity’s support was already proving “invaluable”, especially as the couple are expecting their second child in just a couple of months.
They are looking to repay the charity’s kindness by raising at least £5,000 for the cause.
“They have been fantastic to us and have been keeping us sane really,” Miss Reynolds added.
“We are hoping to raise the money to sponsor a room here for three years.
“Hopefully we will be able to pay for our own stay and help other families who may find themselves in a similar position.”
Their campaign is already off to a flying start, with supporters organising fund-raising events from sponsored swim to a skydive and many more besides to raise cash for the cause.
One of the biggest supporters is Nuffield Health gym, in Droitwich Road, Worcester, where Miss Reynolds is a member and Billy is a familiar and much-loved face in the creche.
Marketing manager Claire Bell has been busy organising an all-day fund-raising event, which takes place tomorrow.
As well as an all-day “spinathon” from 8am to 7pm, there will be an Easter egg hunt, a raffle, an auction, a fancy dress competition and a chance to do the latest dance craze, the Harlem Shake. There will also be a pub quiz in the evening.
For more information about the fun day, visit facebook.com/events/146335425532447.