A young girl who battled a brain tumour is to be the star of a charity campaign to help find a cure for the disease.
Myah Bell, from Cirencester, underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour when she was just 10 months old.
Her symptoms were initially mistaken for a virus.
When the disease was finally discovered, the news came as a devastating blow to her parents Fiona Qioniwasa and Joe Bell.
Myah had to have an emergency procedure to fit a drain in order to relieve a dangerous build-up of fluid and then underwent chemotherapy to shrink the tumour.
After a 19-hour operation, her family were warned that if Myah survived the surgery, she could be left blind or otherwise permanently damaged.
Now four years on, Myah is starring in this year’s national Wear A Hat Day campaign by the Brain Tumour Research charity.
Mum Fiona said: “Myah had been sick several times in the weeks leading up to her diagnosis.
“Our GP suggested she had a virus but as time went by, we were becoming increasingly concerned.
“We went to Cirencester Hospital, where we were given medication to treat dehydration.
“But when we went back the following day, we were told to take her straight to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
“Myah was still vomiting and couldn’t even keep water down.
“She had lots of tests and a CT scan which, to our horror, revealed she had a brain tumour.
“Myah had surgery and we were warned of the risks; she could lose her sight, she might be permanently damaged, she could die; I prepared myself for the worst.
“Fortunately, the surgery went well and the MRI revealed the tumour, which was a grade two choroid plexus papilloma, had been successfully removed.
“But despite that for months we barely slept and wondered if the nightmare would ever end as Myah underwent another four rounds of chemotherapy to ensure any remaining cancer cells were killed.
“She continues to have scans of her spine and head.
“Myah also now lives with a permanent shunt in her head, essential to drain any excess fluid which continues to build up.”
The family has been a dedicated supporter of Brain Tumour Research since Myah’s diagnosis and, living with the knowledge that her tumour may return, they are resolute in raising awareness of brain tumours – a disease which kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
The kids joining Myah in the Wear A Hat Day campaign are donning their best headwear from beanies to cowboy hats, trilbies to Panamas, baseball caps to novelty headpieces, and are asking others to join them for Wear A Hat Day 2019, the UK’s premier brain tumour awareness event.
This year, it takes place on Friday, March 29 and is expected to smash all records as it marks its 10th year.
Fiona added: “I’m so proud of Myah for being part of the Wear A Hat Day campaign.
“It means so much to our family to contribute towards finding a cure, so it’s an honour to have her take part. Myah and her seven-year-old sister Freya had such a fun time at the photoshoot too and it will be a lovely memento for her to look back on.
“It’s a bit of a family affair as Myah’s grandma Karen, who has supported Brain Tumour Research for several years, will also be taking part in Wear A Hat Day with her colleagues at Cirencester College.”
The big day will see schools, workplaces, families and individuals across the UK fundraising and taking part in fun events to raise awareness of brain tumours and help fund life-saving research.
To get involved or to donate, visit wearahatday.org, text HAT to 70660 to donate £5.