Girl, 8, diagnosed with golf ball-sized tumour after brother asked for eye test

A little girl discovered she had a life-threatening brain tumour thanks to her brother fooling around with their mum's glasses.

Grace Morley, eight, was booked in for an eye check by mum Rachael after her nine-year-old sibling said he could see better with the specs.

But to her horror, an MRI scan then revealed a huge golf ball-sized lump in Grace's brain – which could have paralysed, blinded or even killed her.

It has now been removed, following a six-and-a-half hour operation which has left the youngster with a six-inch scar on the back of her head.

Now Rachael, 43, from the town of Chineham in Hampshire, is urging other parents to get their children's eyes tested.


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"I don't know why Alex put my glasses on, he was prattling around," she said.

"But it's a good job he did because that is what made me book eye tests for him and Grace. If he didn't they may not have found Grace's tumour in time."

"He is very proud of that," she joked.

"But we are just very, very lucky, in a weird way."

Rachael says she decided to book tests for the whole family, including her husband David, after Alex made the surprise revelation while they were watching a film.

"That was odd for us because Alex is usually glued to his Xbox and Grace is normally glued to her iPad," she explains.

"Alex then put on my glasses. He shoved them on and said 'That's better.'

"I said 'Oh you are kidding me?' He said 'I can see better with them on.'

"I said 'For God sake Alex you are at secondary school now did you not think to say something?'

"I never thought why he sat so close to the screen when playing Xbox."


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Grace, who already used glasses for reading, had been for eye tests twice in the previous two years.

So when the family went to Basingstoke Specsavers on December 29, it was all about Alex, who was excited to be getting new glasses.

But staff told the family they wanted to refer Grace to hospital because the back of her eyes looked "a bit pale".

"They didn't seem overly worried but they said they were obliged to refer her to the hospital because they will take better photographs with better machinery," Rachael explained.

"She had no symptoms to worry them like a loss of balance or headaches."

Rachael and David, who have been married 12 years, were told their daughter might have drusen or little crystals forming in her optic nerve and may need eye drops.

But as a precaution Basingstoke General Hospital called her back in for an MRI.

On February 11, they were told they had to take Grace out of school for emergency surgery at Southampton General Hospital.

"They showed us the MRI and said the big circle of grey should not be there and it was a tumour," Rachael said.

"They have no idea how long it had been there.

"But they were surprised it wasn't pressing on her spine which would have meant her losing balance."

Brave Grace went into theatre the next day and the tumour was removed.

After spending five days in hospital, she has now made a miraculous recovery, and was back at school within two weeks.

She even proudly tells her classmates that her resulting scar came from being attacked by a shark.

"I get more upset when I get a papercut. It was insane," Rachael proudly says.

"She has a whopping great scar on the back of her head.

"She was on morphined up to the nines. But the next morning they had 10am they had taken the bandage off her head.

"I thought we were going to be in for weeks."

Thankful Rachael says the experience has taught her the importance of getting children's eyes tested.

"There are way too many parents who like me who didn't," she continued.

"It was something I didn't think was important.

"I thought it was about eyesight not health and both my children didn't have problems with their vision.

"You are told to check your boobs and your balls and all the rest of it.

"We were very lucky, she could have lost her eyesight or been paralysed or worse."

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