Seven-hour brain cancer op at Edinburgh’s Sick Kids after Brodie, 3, complained of sore neck
When three-year-old Brodie started complaining of a sore neck his parents never dreamed a week later he would be undergoing a seven-hour operation to remove a cancerous tumour from his brain.
But now the “wee fighter” is heading across the world to undergo cutting edge therapy to get rid of the “beasties in his head”.
Brodie’s parents Jamie and Kirstie Halliday say they are still in the dark about what the toddler’s future will look like but they are a positive family and are “trying to take it in their stride”.
Colleagues of Mr Halliday, 42, who works at IKEA in Loanhead, have clubbed together to raise funds to help the family through this “terrible time” and have set up a crowdfunding page with a target of £3,000.
Brodie, from Fountainhall, was only two years old when he started saying he had a sore neck to Jamie, 43 and Kirstie, 34.
Mr Halliday said: “In the middle of April Brodie started complaining of a sore neck and he is such a fit wee boy that my wife and I were immediately concerned and took him to the doctors.”
Brodie was initially sent away by doctors in Stow because they “couldn’t find anything wrong with him”.
But his parents noticed that their child’s back was starting to arch and he was walking funny so they went back and demanded to see a specialist.
Finally in June, just after his third birthday, Brodie had a CT scan which confirmed he had a brain tumour.
Mr Halliday said: “My wife and I were devastated, it was the worst-case scenario, we thought it was just a wee trapped nerve in his neck.”
The toddler was immediately transferred to The Royal Sick Children’s Hospital and only one week later underwent major brain surgery which successfully removed 90 per cent of the tumour and left Brodie with an eight-inch scar from the top of his head down to his neck.
Jamie and Kirstie thought Bodie was “starting to get back to himself” when the family was dealt a second blow and were informed the remaining tumour was cancerous and he would have to undertake a course of chemotherapy.
He has now reached the halfway mark of his six-session treatment and has managed to remain “cheery” through his extended stay in hospital.
Mr Halliday said: “It’s obviously difficult to explain to Brodie what is happening, we told him he had beasties in his head and needed special medication to get them out and after this he might need to go and sit in a wee spaceship.
“He has taken the whole thing in his stride, he just said ‘yeah, let’s get them out!’”
After finishing chemotherapy mum, dad, Brodie and big sister Indiana, six, will travel to either Manchester, Germany or Florida to undergo a further eight-week treatment called Proton Therapy which is not available in Scotland.
Mr Halliday said that it is very important to him and his wife that the whole family go with Brodie to get his treatment, including big sister Indiana.
Indiana, is very close to her little brother and it’s been difficult for them being apart while Brodie is in hospital.
He said: “India and Brodie are inseparable, they are always cuddling and playing together, it’s been hard when they can’t see each other when Brodie’s in hospital. But she has been really good about the whole situation, she’s a good big sister, we are really proud of her. There is no way I could be without my little girl for two months so the whole family is going.”
The family is optimistic about Brodie’s future and hopeful that this experimental treatment will “do the trick” and allow their “wee boy” to get back to his “fit and active self”.
Mr Halliday said: “Hopefully this will just be a minor setback in Brodie’s life and this time next year it will just be a distant memory and we can all go back to normal.”
He went on to say that he hopes families who find themselves in similar situations can draw strength from their story. He said: “We know we are not the only family that is going through something like this and we really hope that Brodie’s story can help other people going through the same thing.
“As a parent, your child being sick is the worst thing you can imagine, it’s hard to explain how it feels when you find out.
“I remember sitting in the hospital when the doctor told me that Brodie had a brain tumour. They handled it really well, I can’t fault them, they were very kind but could just tell there was something wrong when three doctors came into the room after the scans.
“But I still didn’t think it was going to be cancer. I just felt completely numb.”
The father of two has worked in IKEA for over 18 years and is currently on compassionate leave. His work colleagues were “devastated” for the whole family when they heard about Brodie’s health.
Gill Playfair, who has worked alongside Mr Halliday in the store for the last 18 years, has set up a crowdfunding page to raise cash for the young family as they cope with this “terrible situation”.
She said: “They are just such a lovely young family and I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for them.
“They are all very positive but I can’t imagine the fear they must be feeling.”
Ms Playfield said that their IKEA team wanted to do something to give the family something positive to focus on, which is why they are raising cash to send the family of four away on a holiday after Brodie is in remission.
She said: “We just wanted to make sure they had something to look forward to, something to help them through the next course of treatment wherever it takes them.”
Mr Halliday said that he was very touched when he heard about his colleagues’ plans and couldn’t thank his workmates enough for their support.
He said: “They know how difficult a time we were having and how busy we were and they asked if we would mind if they set up a funding page to help us with finances.
“I can’t speak highly enough of them and the support they have given us all has been incredible.”
“I have worked in IKEA for 18 years now, and the team have always been close.
“When things happen and colleagues are going through difficult situations we all pull together which is exactly what they have done for my family over the last three months.”
A fundraising page has been set up to help take Brodie’s family on a well-deserved holiday - https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hallidaybrodie?utm_term=Q49ypyQgR