A teenager discovered she had a deadly brain tumor after a routine eye exam.
Macie Hallitt, from Farnham, Surrey, did not notice any unusual eye problems until an appointment at Specsavers.
The 13-year-old boy couldn’t read the letters on a blackboard and couldn’t even recognize the different colors.
Macie’s concerned mother, 36-year-old Maxine Stevens, was told Macie’s optic nerves were damaged and was referred to hospital for tests.
Just six days later, she was diagnosed with a glioma, which accounts for one in four childhood cancers.
Macie Hallitt (pictured) from Farnham in Surrey did not notice that she was experiencing unusual vision problems. But during the exam, the 13-year-old boy couldn’t read the letters on a blackboard and couldn’t even recognize the different colors.
At her local Specsavers in Farnham, Macie’s concerned mother, 36-year-old Maxine Stevens, was told that Macie’s optic nerves were compressed. In the photo, Macie with her mother Maxine
Ms Stevens told MailOnline: “What was particularly shocking was that she hadn’t realized herself that she couldn’t see these things.”
While attending her appointment on June 20, Macie was asked by the optician to read the lowest row of letters on a whiteboard.
But, recalling the initial consultation, Ms Stevens recounted how Macie said, “There are no letters, just a big A.”
Photographs of Macie’s eye also showed damage to the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain.
After the optician made an urgent referral to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, Ms Stevens received a call at 9am from the ophthalmology department on June 22 urging Macie to attend the hospital that morning.
WHAT IS A GLIOMA?
Gliomas are brain tumors that originate in glial cells.
Glial cells surround neurons, helping to support and protect nerve cells.
Around 2,200 cases of glioma are diagnosed in the UK every year, statistics show.
And the tumors affect two to three out of every 100,000 adults annually in the US.
The most common type of glioma is an astrocytoma, which develops from cells called astrocytes.
Unspecified gliomas occur when a doctor cannot determine the exact grade of the tumor or where it started.
Low-grade, slow-growing tumors may not need immediate treatment and are managed through “watchful waiting.”
About half of low-grade tumors require surgery within two to three years of follow-up.
Surgery may be done to remove as much of a low-grade tumor as possible, known as debulking.
Radiation therapy may then be done if much of the tumor remains.
Chemotherapy may be recommended instead of radiation therapy if a patient has a specific gene mutation.
High-grade gliomas require surgery, which may be followed by radiation therapy.
This does not cure the tumor but aims to control it.
Chemotherapy may also be recommended.
Fountain: UK Cancer Research
Eye scans and tests conducted throughout the day revealed that Macie had no peripheral vision and was color blind.
Ms Stevens told MailOnline: “The consultant suggested there was ‘something’ compressing the optic nerve and mentioned a tumour.”
After referring her for an urgent MRI, the consultant advised Ms. Stevens that Macie had suffered significant thinning of her optic nerve.
By June 26, the results of the MRI showed that he suffered from a glioma that was pressing on his optic nerve and he was immediately told to stay in the hospital.
Gliomas are tumors of the glial tissue, which supports and supports nerve cells and fibers.
They tend to grow and infiltrate brain tissue, making surgical removal very difficult, or sometimes impossible, and complicating treatment.
Around 420 children are diagnosed with tumors affecting the brain and central nervous system each year in the UK.
Doctors confirmed that Macie would start a course of chemotherapy in six to eight weeks.
Since then, Ms. Stevens has launched a GoFundMe Campaignraising over £4,000 to date, to help support Macie’s care.
“After receiving the diagnosis, I realized that I would have to close my business,” he told MailOnline.
‘I was a self-employed event planner and had several parties booked for the next few weeks.
“With the uncertainty about hospital appointments and ongoing treatment, I had to cancel all future party bookings and refund all clients.
“I also realized that it would not be practical for Macie to sleep on the top bunk in a shared room with her younger sister while she is undergoing chemotherapy.
“I talked to friends and family and they all suggested a GoFundMe page.”
She added: ‘To be honest, I cringed at first because I didn’t like the idea of begging.
“But they all said they wanted to help, whether it was arranging a room for Macie or transportation to the hospital or helping with the financial loss of my business.”
“In less than a week, our entire world was turned upside down.”
Eye scans and examinations conducted on June 22 at Frimley Park Hospital, just two days after her routine eye appointment, revealed that Macie had no peripheral vision and was color blind.
After referring her for an urgent MRI, the consultant at Frimley Park Hospital advised Ms Stevens that Macie had suffered significant thinning of her optic nerves. By June 26, the results of the MRI showed that she suffered from a glioma that was pressing on her optic nerve and she was immediately told to stay in the hospital. In the photo, Macie (on the right) with her parents and sisters.
Ms Stevens said: “As a mother I do my best to support my children and can carry as much as I can, but this news was more than any parent should carry alone.”
‘Macie and I have been overwhelmed by the support and generosity we have received from so many people, even complete strangers.
‘Macie has brought a bouquet of flowers to the optician’s to thank you. As much as this is incredibly sad news for her, she wanted to say thank you for finding him and now he can be treated and hopefully preserve his remaining sight.”
She added: ‘As a family we have a long road ahead of us.
‘Macie faces brain tumor, loss of sight, chemotherapy [and] the loss of her beautiful long hair.
Ms Stevens cautioned that there was a chance that Macie would need chemotherapy “throughout her life”.
“We don’t really know what the future looks like right now, but we are taking it one day at a time,” he added.
“We will fight every obstacle as a family and will be forever grateful for each and every donation, every post shared, and every kind message of support and love.”