A 16-year-old girl from Hedingham School is fighting a brain tumour – like the one that killed fellow pupil Arran Tosh.
In a tragic coincidence, Keira Dixon was also diagnosed after visiting an optician with blurred vision.
Arran, 13, from Priory Gardens in Sudbury, died earlier this month, just a week after an eye test revealed the cause of his headaches – a brain tumour. Four days later, surround by his heartbroken family, he died.
Like Arran, Keira reported suffering from symptoms that seemed relatively harmless at the time.
Around a year ago, the teenager, who lives in Swan Street, Sible Hedingham, began suffering from headaches and fainting.
“One time, she was playing rounders and she just face planted,” said her mother, Amanda.
Having just had braces fitted, it was thought they could have been the cause and, when the pain did not stop, it was decided to remove them.
Keira had already undergone a series of blood tests and an ECG, but these revealed nothing. Doctors then suggested the headaches could be attributed to hormones.
Still without a firm diagnosis, the family took the decision to go to an optician in February when Keira’s vision became blurred.
The optician decided to do an extra test in order to look at the back of Keira’s eye.
“That’s when the optician went a bit pale,” said Mrs Dixon. “I’m no expert, but even I could tell it didn’t look right.”
The optician immediately referred Keira to Colchester Hospital.
After undergoing a CT scan and an MRI, Keira was diagnosed with a brain tumour and has since had surgery and radiotherapy.
The treatment, however, has taken its toll on the youngster.
She now has to walk with a stick, has co-ordination problems and can only use one eye.
“It’s not a curable disease,” said Mrs Dixon. “That’s the hardest part – it could come back in one year or 10, but it will come back.”
Now a stay-at-home mum to care for Keira, Mrs Dixon urged parents to “ask the question” about brain tumours.