Hevingham community rallies to help family of Jay Goodman, two, as he fights aggressive brain tumour
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
It is a day which will be etched into the minds of the Goodman family for the rest of their lives.
On March 11, 2016, little Jay Goodman was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour at 16 months old.
The heartbreaking news was a bitter blow to parents Mark and Karen and their four other children - Joshua, 12, Reece, nine, George, six, and Maddie, four.
While throwing all of their energy into supporting the little fighter's year-long battle to survive, Mr and Mrs Goodman are juggling work and the everyday reality of family life: school runs, shopping and more. But help and support has come from an old-fashioned source - the local community.
People in their home village of Hevingham have raised almost £3,000 to help keep Jay, now two, fighting through gruelling chemotherapy.
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It was when Jay started crawling at 11 months that Mrs Goodman noticed her son's head would lean to one side, he was sick every morning and one eye was drooping. Doctors put it down to a muscle problem, but six months later they thought it might be more serious.
Mrs Goodman, 34, said: 'I took him to the doctors on the Monday for his sickness because he wouldn't stop being sick. I took him in on the Wednesday because of his eye because it was really droopy, and then on the Friday morning I took him in because I couldn't wake him up.'
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Jay was rushed to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, where a scan found a brain tumour the size of a large orange. His parents were warned that without surgery that day, he would die.
After a 10-hour operation, surgeons removed most of the tumour. But Jay had to have chemotherapy every two weeks, with his father spending time at the hospital while Mrs Goodman stayed at home with their other children.
While 37-year-old Mr Goodman was away, community spirit in their village shone through, with fundraising events, childcare help and food deliveries.
Mr Goodman, who owns a farm and a brewery, said: 'I had one night in two and a half weeks at home. The rest of the time I spent in the hospital with Jay. The other kids do say that they miss their time with me and ask 'why can't I have a little bit of time here and someone else go?'
'But I've said it's just the way it works: Mummy can't do hospital, it scares her; Daddy can because it doesn't. And it's the fairest way that life can carry on as normal as it can.'
But he said the support in Hevingham, which has a population of about 1,300, had been invaluable.
'It's actually been overwhelming the amount of support we've had,' said Mr Goodman.
'There's so many people coming forward and helping us out. We wouldn't have got through this without them.
'We've had people in the local community having birthdays and they've said 'right we don't want a present, we'll do a collection' - just little things that which are actually huge things to us, it's meant the world. It really has made life so much easier for us.'
Jay's final chemotherapy treatment is next week, and after that it is a waiting game to find out whether the tumour has been beaten.
To follow Jay's journey visit www.gofundme.com/ztx5qa7t