An eight-year-old boy told his mother there was “no point in living” after doctors delivered the devastating news he would never be seen again.
Hamza Ibrahim from Adelaide was like any other schoolboy, but earlier this year he started suffering from headaches, nausea and general clumsiness.
His mother Jessica took him to two family doctors who dismissed the symptoms, but eventually Hamza began to lose his vision and had difficulty walking straight.
On August 28, he was admitted to the emergency room at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital north of the city, and doctors finally figured out what was causing the problems.
Little Hamza was diagnosed with a five centimeter brain tumor.
The fluid buildup and pressure tragically left permanent damage to the nerves, affecting his vision.
Hamza Ibrahim from Adelaide was like any other schoolboy, but earlier this year he started suffering from headaches, nausea and general clumsiness
His mother, Jessica, took him to the emergency room at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital north of the city, where he was diagnosed with a five-centimeter brain tumor
“As a result, he requires full-time care and daily help with simple tasks such as showering, dressing, walking, eating and even playing with his little sisters,” his aunt Cathryn Somerville wrote on a website GoFundMe page to raise money for his rehabilitation.
“Unfortunately, he can no longer enjoy the activities that brought him so much joy before his diagnosis, such as reading his favorite Harry Potter books, watching movies, going to school and playing basketball with his friends.”
In fact, Hamza had been suffering from unusual symptoms for some time, but his mother’s concerns were dismissed by two family doctors.
Jessica, who is a single parent and has six other children, said he was normally a “really happy boy” but his blindness had left him devastated.
“Yesterday he told me he thought there was no point in living if he couldn’t see,” his mother Jessica said 7News.
“He says things like ‘I’m sad I’ll never see your face again’.”
Hello Aunty said: “Unfortunately, he can no longer enjoy the activities that brought him so much joy before his diagnosis, such as reading his favorite Harry Potter books, watching movies, going to school and playing basketball with his friends.”
Hamza was diagnosed with a five centimeter pilocytic astrocytoma brain tumor
Hamza also has to say goodbye to his school friends as he has been told he must attend the South Australian School for the Vision Impaired once he recovers from surgery to remove the tumor from his cerebellum.
His mother said that in the months before his devastating diagnosis there were subtle symptoms, including occasional headaches, nausea and general clumsiness, that were difficult to recognize.
“There was no frequency, no consistency,” Jessica said.
“I would say (to him), ‘Maybe you need to drink water, you’re dehydrated, maybe you need to put down your iPad,’ which are just normal troubleshooting tasks as a parent that you do.”
In July, vomiting occurred occasionally, followed by more acute symptoms.
“He couldn’t walk straight… (but) when kids lose their vision and it happens so slowly, they don’t really know it,” Jessica said.
“He was clumsy, he threw himself into things, and it just kept getting worse.”
His mother Jessica (pictured with Hamza) said there had been subtle symptoms in the months leading up to his devastating diagnosis, including occasional headaches, nausea and general clumsiness, which were difficult to detect
The Harry Potter lover must attend the South Australian School for the Vision Impaired
Despite the alarming symptoms, two GPs refused Jessica’s request to have further tests carried out on her son.
“In the back of my mind I thought, why don’t we do a CT scan, but you trust the doctor’s opinion,” she said.
“It was only when the school called me and said, ‘Your son is not safe at school, you need to pick him up’ that I brought a third GP to see him who suggested I take him to a hospital and get him in.” Six Hours later we had a diagnosis.
“I thought it was a nightmare and I was in complete disbelief.”
Jessica is now campaigning for doctors to receive further training in recognizing the symptoms of tumors and trusting the gut feelings of worried parents.
“I don’t want this to happen to another child.” “It’s devastating,” she said.
Professor Jordan Hansford, a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Women’s and Children’s Hospital, agreed that more education about brain tumor symptoms was needed among junior doctors and GPs.
“It’s not unusual that diagnosing brain tumors in children can take some time… it can be a history over quite a long period of time with symptoms and signs that are not specific or something,” Prof Hansford told the publication.
“One of the red flags I often educate young doctors about is multiple presentations for symptoms and the concerned parent who has had multiple presentations needs to think about whether it is more than just a cold, virus or flu.”
According to the Children’s Cancer Institute, brain cancer is one of the most common childhood cancers. In Australia, around 120 cases are diagnosed in children and young people each year.