A Baseball-Sized Brain Tumour

Olive was vomiting with alarming regularity. The five-year-old from St. David’s began complaining about pain in her eyes and she was uncharacteristically lethargic.

Amanda and Olive

MacKid Olive with mom Amanda

Olive’s parents were hoping that she was just suffering from the flu, but her condition continued to worsen during the spring of 2017.

“Her teachers were concerned because she was falling asleep in class,” recalls Olive’s mother, Amanda. “She also lost her balance when I picked her up from school. Growing alarmed, I took her to McMaster Children’s Hospital.”

A devastating diagnosis

Scans revealed that a cancerous tumour the size of a baseball was growing in Olive’s brain.

“We were in complete shock,” says Amanda. “The situation was extremely dangerous and Olive needed brain surgery. The craniotomy took about nine hours and it was a nerve-wracking experience for us as we waited. Luckily the surgery went well and they managed to remove most of the tumour.”

Olive underwent chemotherapy during the summer, followed by a second brain surgery, when surgeons were able to remove the rest of the tumour during the three-hour operation. This was followed by six weeks of radiation therapy.

“We’re extremely grateful for the care she received.”

Moving forward

“There’s a lot of fluid in her brain, so she may need to have a shunt put in at some point, but we’re all done treatment for now. Olive is cancer-free but we still visit the Hospital for regular follow-up appointments.”

Olive was proud to share her story as a Superhero Ambassador for the 2018 MacKids Walk & Wheel, a fundraising event that was held on June 2 in support of McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“We’re extremely grateful for the care she received. Olive is alive today because of the amazing doctors and staff at McMaster Children’s Hospital.”