Fund to help inspirational 10-year-old Maisie in her recovery from brain tumour

Maisie Lossau pictured in hospital in February 2016.

Maisie Lossau pictured in hospital in February 2016.

With a winning smile and a thumbs-up, Maisie Lossau is a picture of courage.

Maisie pictured in hospital in February.

Maisie pictured in hospital in February.

For the remarkable 10-year-old has faced a fearsome seven months battling a brain tumour – but has never let it get her down.

Maisie, from Tuckswood, has amazed her family and medical staff with her 'inspirational' attitude.

Now her parents, Dawn and Darrell, are trying to raise £5,000 to buy medical equipment to help her in her recovery. The youngster underwent surgery at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge on February 4, which successfully removed 80pc of the tumour.

However, she suffered a collapsed lung as a reaction and by the time she came round, had lost the use of her limbs and was suffering from breathing difficulties.

Maisie before her diagnosis.

Maisie before her diagnosis. - Credit: Submitted

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The Tuckswood family's heart-rending experience began last November, when they spotted what appeared to be a turn in her eye and Maisie developed double vision.

She was taken to an optician, who after tests concluded she had 20/20 vision.

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At this stage, nobody suspected it could be a tumour. However, she was referred to an optometrist.

In January, she was taken for an MRI scan, which revealed the devastating news that it was a brain tumour.

Maisie's note written about 'Bob' before her surgery.

Maisie's note written about 'Bob' before her surgery.

Her mother Dawn Lossau, 44, said: 'Our whole world fell apart when we found out. We had so many questions. How? Why?'

Dad Darrell Lossau, 39, said: 'It felt as though I had been hit by a truck when I was told. It was very emotional, knowing our life was completely changed.'

However, throughout the ordeal Maisie – who previously enjoyed gymnastics, dancing and Brownies – has kept her spirits up.

Mr Lossau, a self-employed taxi driver, said: 'She is such a determined little girl. After her surgery she was placed into a coma for four days. After she came out of that, she mouthed to us, 'As long as I've got you two, we can get through'. That reduced me to tears.'

Maisie pictured in hospital in March.

Maisie pictured in hospital in March. - Credit: Submitted

'Maisie is just the most amazing person I have ever met,' added Mrs Lossau, a credit manager. 'She has taken everything that has happened to her unbelievably well.

'Even her surgeon said she couldn't believe the determination she is showing – she is inspirational.'

Maisie's strength in the face of adversity is epitomised by the fact she even gave her tumour a name: Bob the Blob.

Mr Lossau said: 'Explaining it to Maisie was incredibly difficult, but she has taken it all in her stride.

Maisie at a street dance class in May last year.

Maisie at a street dance class in May last year.

'One day I worried it had hit her when she came downstairs in tears, but in the end she just said it was because she missed Brownies.'

The family have now set up a crowdfunding page, to help them provide everything Maisie will need on her road to recovery.

These things include specialist equipment to help Maisie, a Bignold Primary School pupil, readjust to life at home, such as a wheelchair, and adaptations to the family's garden so she can make use of the outdoors.

The initial target the family set was £5,000, and in just a week, Maisie's story has inspired more than £3,500 in donations.

Maisie pictured last Christmas.

Maisie pictured last Christmas.

Mrs Lossau said: 'We've been absolutely taken aback by people's generosity – we're speechless. We have received donations from people we don't even know personally – it is amazing. We are so grateful for everything.'

Her husband added: 'We have such a strong network of family and friends, which is a massive help to us.'

Maisie remains in Addenbrooke's, where she is gradually regaining use of her limbs, though it is still unclear whether she will be able to walk again.

She is also slowly rediscovering her speech, though only at a very low volume, and has been fitted with a tracheotomy tube to assist with her breathing.

Maisie pictured with parents Darrell and Dawn on a family holiday in Turkey last year.

Maisie pictured with parents Darrell and Dawn on a family holiday in Turkey last year.

Mr Lossau said: 'I have absolutely no idea how she can stay so positive. She has occasionally asked why it has happened to her but she hasn't asked nearly as many questions as I would have if it had been me.'

The parents now want to help raise awareness of the symptoms Maisie had, which included a stiff neck and occasional vomiting, to help people recognise the signs.

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Treatment background

Maisie was originally taken to an optician last November, after her parents noticed what appeared to be a turn in her eye.

Following eye tests which revealed her to have perfect 20/20 vision, she was referred to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's optometry department.

However, after several weeks had passed, the family had not heard anything and instead decided to seek private health care through Spire.

She was given a full examination, which included the MRI scan that eventually revealed the brain tumour.

She was admitted to Addenbrooke's, where surgery was scheduled.

The family did eventually hear from the hospital's optometry department, but not until February 3 – the day before she underwent her surgery.

A spokesman for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital said: 'We received a routine referral for this young patient and we assess hundreds of children each year with squints which is often related to family history and can usually be corrected with glasses.

'It is exceptionally unusual for a squint to be caused by a brain tumour and there was no suggestion of anything sinister in the referral information provided by the GP and the community ophthalmologist.

'We would like to reassure patients that urgent referrals are reviewed by a consultant and seen within a week.

'We wish the family well for the future.'

Effect on family life

The journey has had huge implications for Maisie and her parents.

The family have had to sell their home in Scarlet Road, Tuckswood and find a new one in Spixworth, which Maisie herself is yet to see.

It has also meant Mr Lossau has had to give up work as a taxi driver, while Mrs Lossau faces numerous trips home from Cambridge and back to keep up her job.

'My employers have been absolutely brilliant throughout,' she said.

Since February, Mr and Mrs Lossau have been living in Acorn House, a residential home offered by The Sick Children Trust.

Meanwhile, pet dog, Zak, a six-year-old black Labrador, has been staying with Maisie's grandparents since January.

Mr Lossau said: 'Maisie has definitely missed Zak. A pets as therapy dog visited her one time – a yellow lab – which really reminded her how much she missed him.

Mrs Lossau added: 'It is Maisie's strength, smiling face and determination that keeps us going, we are just so lucky to have her.

'There is still a long road ahead but we know with continued support we can get through.'

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