A St Helens youngster who missed his fifth birthday party to have emergency treatment for a rare brain tumour is showcasing his creativity this weekend at a unique art exhibition.
Noah Forster, now six, was diagnosed with a rare and low-grade brain tumour called an angliocentric glioma the day before his fifth birthday party last year.
Within a few short hours of first complaining of a headache and a sore neck, Noah had a seizure and fell unconscious at St Theresa’s Catholic School in St Helens.
Noah had not had any signs or symptoms of his tumour prior to that morning.
He was rushed to Whiston Hospital in an ambulance where emergency MRI and ECG scans revealed a tumour the size of an egg. He was then taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for a craniotomy to remove it and he also had three metal plates put in his head.
Nearly 18 months later, Noah now has six-monthly MRI scans to monitor his condition for any changes which may require more surgery.
He also has an acquired brain injury as a result of either the tumour itself or the surgery.
His learning regressed so he had to learn to read and write all over again, as well as dealing with extreme fatigue and struggling to remember information.
Despite this, his love for art has led to his work being included this weekend in an exhibition called ‘My Brain, My Journey’ at Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.
His artwork will be part of a collection by children and young adults who have had brain injuries and used their creativity to express their emotions and experiences.
Noah’s mum, Donna, is sharing the family’s story through The Brain Tumour Charity to raise awareness of brain tumours and their impact.
Donna said: “Life just completely changed overnight, I look back now and it feels like it was all a very bad dream.
"The doctors told me that the tumour was likely to have been there a while even though that morning was the first time Noah had even complained of a headache. We couldn’t believe how fast everything changed.
“Now, Noah can’t keep up with his friends and he is slower at learning. But our boy is very bright and articulate – he enjoys history and art.
"He is loving, kind, clever and he has taken everything in his stride without ever crying or complaining. For that, we are totally grateful and very blessed – Noah is a real-life superhero.”
The Brain Tumour Charity is the world's leading brain tumour charity and the largest dedicated funder of research into brain tumours globally. It aims to raise awareness of the disease, which is the number one cancer killer of children and adults under 40 years old.
Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “Noah’s story illustrates how fast brain tumours can strike and the huge impact which they can have - quite literally, overnight.
"He is a truly inspiring little boy who has shown strength, courage and determination beyond his years in the face of this cruel disease.
“At The Brain Tumour Charity, we’re working hard to reduce the damage caused by brain tumours by investing in worldwide research into the disease.
“We’re also here to provide the emotional and practical help and support which people need when they are diagnosed and receiving treatment.”
For more information on The Brain Tumour Charity, visit https://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/
My Brain, My Journey is at Whitworth Art Gallery on November 24 from 1pm to 4pm. All proceeds from the exhibition will go to Manchester Children’s Hospital.