A TEENAGER living with a brain tumour is helping to raise awareness and funds to support other children suffering from the same condition.

Charlie Wharton, 13, was diagnosed with the tumour in October 2018 after weeks of feeling unwell.

His dad, James, said: “Charlie started getting really bad headaches and feeling sick, and was going back and forward to the doctors.

“He would be really poorly for a couple of days and then fine for the next few days.”

James said Charlie also often felt dizzy and confused.

“He was in a bit of a scrap with his older sister, Lucy, and had his glasses knocked off,” he said.

“We noticed his eyes were wandering as well and booked an appointment at the opticians.”

It was during his appointment the optician noticed Charlie’s optic nerve was swollen.

James said: “We were told to get Charlie to York Hospital as quickly as we could and he quickly became really poorly and was being constantly sick.

“We had so many doctors and nurses coming in, however Charlie took a real shine to the ward sister, who was called Carol, so he decided that from then on everyone was going to be called Carol.

“She thought it was great, but I’m not sure what the others thought.”

Charlie was told to try and get some sleep and at 5.30am the family was told an ambulance was ready to take him to Leeds General Infirmary. Once there Charlie was seen by Dr John Goodden, “who is an absolute genius” said James.

“The following morning he went down to surgery where he underwent a four-and-a-half-hour operation.

“The surgeons had to cut across the top of his head as the tumour was between his ears growing on an artery. It was also preventing fluid draining from his brain so they made a new drain to reduce the pressure and help stop the headaches.”

James said the surgeon was not able to remove the tumour due to the risk of nerve damage to his legs and arms.

“Charlie had no side-effects from the operation and next day he was up and about playing table football, his surgeon was amazed,” he said.

“The ward had a range of children who had undergone neurosurgery, some had massive bandages on their heads and couldn’t speak.

“I was in there one day and had to go and get a coffee.

“When I got back Charlie just said ‘It’s all getting too much for you isn’t it dad?’.”

Charlie now receives annual scans and care from Leeds General Infirmary and he is able to lead a relatively normal life.

He and his dad have recently raised more than £1,250 for the neuro ward at the hospital by having their heads shaved.

James said: “I’d noticed everyone at work shaving their heads during the lockdown, and as I’ve alway had fairly long hair and a beard my boss offered me £10 to do mine.

“I thought if I was going to do it I may as well do it for a good cause and it went from there.”

James said Charlie, who is a pupil at Norton College, and lives in Staxton, did not want to be treated to differently to anyone else.

He said: “He has always remained positive and has a wicked sense of humour.

“What he hopes to achieve from this is raising awareness of the symptoms - it won’t stop others getting a tumour but it may make them get it diagnosed earlier.

“On a personal note, I would also like to thank Dr Goodden and his amazing team, all the wonderful ‘Nurse Carols’ at York Hospital, the paramedics and Scarborough Specsavers.”

To donate to their fundraising appeal, go to gofundme.com/f/neuro-ward-l52-lgi