For the first few years of Daniel Bell’s life, he was like any other toddler, full of energy, happy and full of life at home in Ormskirk, but doctors soon discovered Daniel had a brain tumour the size of a fist.
At aged three, mum Rosalind and dad Colin, had noticed a change in Daniel’s behaviour. He wasn’t the same happy go lucky toddler he was. Rosalind explains; “His personality literally changed. He was grumpy had lots of tantrums, was sick and went back to sleeping in the day too, which was the total opposite of what he was previously.”
Thankfully Rosalind, who was also 7 months pregnant at the time, had seen a recent Headsmart campaign and had recognised some of the symptoms of a brain tumour. Daniel was taken to his Ormskirk A&E who quickly realised the severity of the situation and Daniel diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Daniel was rushed straight to Alder Hey; a centre of excellence for brain conditions. “It was like the bottom had fallen out of my world, our lives changed in a split second. We were told he needed to go to Alder Hey right away and we were blue-lighted to Liverpool,” says Rosalind.
Once at Alder Hey, Daniel was taken straight to theatre where Neurosurgeon Ms Sasha Burns drained fluid on his brain during a 3 hour life-saving operation and the next day Daniel’s tumour was removed during a 9 hour operation by Mr Conor Mallucci who had rushed back from London to perform the procedure.
“Mr Mallucci told us that Daniel had a cystic tumour which was the size of an adult’s fist and there was a possibility of Daniel losing motor and mobility skills as the result of the procedure,” explained Rosalind.
The operation was a success, helped by the use of Alder Hey’s 3-T MRI scanner, a pioneering scanner which allows surgeons to scan the brain in theatre. Alder Hey is the first hospital in Europe to have this kit, which was paid for by Alder Hey Children’s Charity.
“It was 6pm when we heard that Daniel was out of theatre. We were approaching HDU to see him when we heard Daniel shouting at the nurses. I have to admit it was the best sound ever,” said Rosalind. “Mr Mallucci said that the operation ‘went perfectly’ and that he had successfully managed to remove the whole of Daniel’s tumour. We spent 6 days on HDU to recover and then went to the neuro ward for a week. The nurses were incredible,” said Rosalind.
Daniel had to undertake a number of physio sessions to improve his mobility after the operation and then was then assessed by Alder Hey’s oncology department to ensure no further treatment was required. Rosalind said: “When we got the scans from Oncology which told us that no further treatment was needed it was an amazing relief. I cried a lot after that.”
After two weeks in Alder Hey, Daniel went home. Apart from a number of follow up scans, Daniel is now a healthy and very active little boy and also a budding actor. “Daniel is now really happy. He is a cheeky little kid and he loves being with his friends. He was recently in Little Shop of Horrors with his local Performing Arts Club,” said Rosalind. “He was also awarded ‘exceeding’ on his SATS at school recently and has been involved in raising money for Alder Hey Children’s Charity.”
Daniel along with his sisters Layla (9) and Seren (3), who Rosalind was pregnant with when Daniel has his operations have started to collect used Christmas trees. People pay £10 for the Bell family to take them away and recycle them with the proceeds going to Alder Hey. So far they have raised over £22,000. As a result of this incredible achievement, Daniel was named a Young Fundraising Ambassador for Alder Hey Children’s Charity, which made everyone in the Bell family very proud. “I was really emotional when they told us that Daniel was to be an ambassador for the Charity. It is an honour and a privilege,” said Rosalind. “Alder Hey is such an inspirational place full of amazing people. The staff put themselves first often at the expense of their own time. It is impossible to put into words how world class they are at what they do. We are fortunate to have them on our doorsteps.”
Daniel is one of our Matalan Campaign 2018 models and had a great time posing and taking part!