Potters Bar gran is special guest at hospital brain tumour ward opening
PUBLISHED: 10:43 12 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:43 12 February 2018
A 71-year-old grandmother from Potters Bar who raised £2,500 for The National Brain Appeal by flying a Spitfire was a special guest at official opening of the new brain tumour ward that she fundraised for.
Grandmother-of-six Jean O’Sullivan was a special guest at The National Brain Appeal’s official opening of the new brain tumour ward at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, where her daughter is a patient.
Julieanne Chambers, 45, has a brain tumour, for which she had surgery in 2013, and a rare neurological condition that will require regular treatment for the rest of her life.
The National Brain Appeal raises vital funds for the hospital in London, a centre of excellence for treating diseases of the brain, spine and nervous system.
Jean, who was joined at the event by Julieanne and granddaughter Mia, 12, raised £2,500 for the charity by flying a Spitfire at RAF Biggin Hill last September.
To mark her and her daughter’s contribution, their names are inscribed on the glass wall at the entrance to the new unit.
Julieanne was treated in the hospital’s dedicated brain tumour ward, called the Molly Lane Fox Unit, that originally opened in 2011 with £1,000,000 funding from The National Brain Appeal.
It was the first dedicated ward for brain tumour patients in the UK.
It has been such a success, with 750 patients being seen on the ward each year, it became clear that extra capacity would have to be found to meet the demand.
Jean’s fundraising helped the charity raise an additional £500,000 so that the new and relocated ward now has 26 beds.
At the opening event Jean said: “I feel so proud to have contributed towards the new brain tumour ward and I’m delighted that more patients will now be able to benefit from the great care that my daughter Julieanne received when she was a patient on the ward. “It is so upsetting as a mother to know that my daughter is so unwell.
“Raising money has been a really positive experience and really helped me to cope and I have every intention of continuing to fundraise for The National Brain Appeal.”
Julieanne has acromegaly, a rare condition that causes the body to produce too much growth hormone.
Each year in the UK only 3 or 4 people in a million will develop it, with somewhere between 2,500 and 8,300 people living with the condition in the UK.
As was the case with Julieanne, acromegaly is often caused by a benign tumour on the pituitary gland known as a pituitary adenoma. She had surgery at The National Hospital in 2013. Her neurosurgeons managed to remove most of the tumour and the remainder is monitored with annual brain scans.
She also has monthly injections to help manage the effects of the acromegaly on her body and has close screening for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer that people with the condition can be susceptible to.
Jean is a widow, having lost her husband Patrick to cancer in 1996.
As well as her daughter Julieanne, she has a son, also called Patrick, 48, and another daughter Elizabeth, 46.
She has six grandchildren, Karrieanne, 27, Chloe, 23, Charlotte, 19, Rebecca, 13, Mia, 12, Aidan, six.