Five-year-old diagnosed with aggressive brain tumour after suffering headaches after playing football

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The little boy was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour after his parents Laura and Toygun also noticed he was wobbly on his feet.

A little boy’s headaches after playing football were found to be caused by “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

Taylan Kurtul was diagnosed with medulloblastoma - an aggressive brain tumour after his parents Laura and Toygun also noticed he was wobbly on his feet.

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The six-year-old, from Broughton Astley in Leicester, was referred to the Leicester Royal Infirmary by his GP after he struggled with basic balance tests. Scans revealed the tumour. 

Taylan, then five, had a seven-hour operation to de-bulk the mass and is currently undergoing proton beam therapy with chemo to follow.

His aunt, Beckie Chamberlain, Laura’s sister, said: “Laura rang me out of the blue one evening, and said ‘we’ve got really bad news, Taylan’s got a tumour on his brain’.

“It was an absolute shock and utterly devastating.

The 40-year-old lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and three children. She continued: ''I dropped everything, got on a plane and managed to see Taylan before his operation.”

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The surgeons were able to remove the majority of the tumour but when Taylan came round it was evident he was suffering from posterior fossa syndrome (PFS). This is a collection of side effects from the surgery, and left Taylan with serious mobility issues. 

He was unable to sit, walk, or eat. He also had vision problems and completely lost his ability to speak.

Results from analysing Taylan’s tumour then confirmed it was the most aggressive type, group 3.

Beckie added: “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to hear the words ‘your son has brain cancer’, but to hear the type also has a terrible prognosis is just life-shattering. The news is still so raw, I feel like it truly hasn’t sunk in and in some ways, I doubt it ever will. It’s simply a living nightmare.

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“It’s all so much for a little boy to take. Laura and Toygun have told Taylan he has a ‘naughty lump’ in his head that the doctors are trying to get rid of. He knows the treatment is there to make him strong again and to stop it coming back. 

''There’s no point frightening him with any more information than that; it’s more important to stay as positive as possible around him while he is fighting so hard.”

Taylan, who is an only child, has had to re-learn to sit, walk, drink and eat. After months of physiotherapy sessions his mobility, vision and speech gradually started improving. He is now able to walk unaided, and talk.

Beckie said: “Taylan is such a brave and resilient little boy. It just makes you realise, nothing else matters in life except the people you love. All the little things you worry about every day, really aren’t important.”

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A crowdfunding page has been set up by Becki to allow his parents to take time off work to spend with their son.

On the fundraising page, Beckie added: “It’s a long road ahead for Taylan, Laura and Toygun and with this comes huge financial difficulty. 

''I set up a fundraising page, because we don’t know what the future holds. We are praying Taylan responds well to the radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but want to be ready to start funding any private treatments here or abroad, which Taylan may need to beat this.”

Brain Tumour Research is calling on the Government to ring-fence £110 million of current and new funding to kick-start an increase in the national investment in brain tumour research to £35 million a year by 2028. The experts want the Government to recognise their work as a critical priority.

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They say the increase in research investment would put brain tumours in line with the spend on cancers of breast, bowel and lung, as well as leukaemia.

Taylan Kurtul was found to have medulloblastoma after his parents Laura and Toygun also noticed he was wobbly on his feet.Taylan Kurtul was found to have medulloblastoma after his parents Laura and Toygun also noticed he was wobbly on his feet.
Taylan Kurtul was found to have medulloblastoma after his parents Laura and Toygun also noticed he was wobbly on his feet. | SWNS

Taylan’s family has also pledged their support to the charity’s petition to increase research funding. It must reach 100,000 signatures, in the hope of prompting a parliamentary debate.

Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are so sorry to hear about Taylan’s diagnosis, and wish him all the best for his ongoing and upcoming treatment.

“Brain tumours kill more children than leukaemia, so we’re grateful to Beckie and the rest of Taylan’s family for supporting our petition and helping to raise awareness.

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“For too long governments have put brain tumours on the ‘too difficult to think about’ pile. Five years after the Government announced £40 million for brain cancer research, less than £11 million has been spent. Patients and families continue to be let down by a funding system that is built in silos and not fit for purpose.

“If everyone can spare just a few minutes to sign and share, we will soon hit the 100,000 signatures we need and help find a cure, bringing hope to families whose loved ones have been affected by brain tumours.”

To sign and share the petition before it closes at the end of October 2023, go to www.braintumourresearch.org/petition

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