Boy labelled 'attention seeking' actually had aggressive brain tumour
A boy who was labelled "attention seeking" was actually suffering symptoms caused by a brain tumour.
Arthur Ridout, three, is now undergoing gruelling treatment. He complained of dizzy spells, nausea as well as headaches for months but his parents say doctors dismissed him.
His mum said she repeatedly took him to hospital but received no answers. She was just told to 'keep an eye on him' after taking him to the family's GP over concern about her son's constant dizziness.
After two months going back and forth to the GP, Arthur was finally diagnosed with an aggressive medulloblastoma - the most common type of cancerous brain tumour in children. His dad Simon Ridout, 39, is now fundraising for the Brain Tumour Research charity.
Arthur's symptoms first began to show at nursery back in December 2021 where staff noticed he was unstable on his feet and needing more naps. He was even sent home with sickness numerous times.
Cattle farmer Simon, who lives in East Chelborough with his wife Lauren, and sons Arthur, and Fred, five, said: "More awareness needs to be raised and I’m keen to do whatever I can to help. It’s been a life-changing few months for my family and it’s given me a new perspective on everything.
"Before Arthur’s diagnosis, I spent a lot of my life working and probably not enough time with my wife and children. I’m re-assessing everything now and family life will definitely be prioritised."
Arthur was referred to a paediatrician after a second visit to the GP but before he could be seen, he was rushed to A&E after falling ill in the park with Lauren on February 5.
Simon added: "Lauren went down a slide with him on her lap and when they got to the bottom, he was dizzy and wanted to lie down in the dirt. When they got to A&E, they saw a few different medics and one of them suggested that Arthur could have been attention-seeking, which made us really cross."
Arthur returned to the hospital two days later to see an optometrist and had a scan the following day where his parents were finally told what had been making their little boy ill. The scan revealed Arthur's symptoms had been caused by a brain tumour the size of a plum called an aggressive medulloblastoma.
Simon said: "It was a huge shock. We did a lot of crying. They sent us in an ambulance up the M5 to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. When we got there, we met a surgeon, who explained that Arthur’s tumour was causing hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid resulting in pressure on the brain."
The toddler endured five lumbar punctures in five weeks to confirm no spread of the cancer to his spine before undergoing emergency surgery to relieve the cranial pressure on February 8.
Two days later, the brave little boy was back in theatre for a 13-hour operation to remove the tumour. Although the surgery was a success, he developed posterior fossa syndrome - a common occurrence with the removal of medullablastoma in children.
He had to learn to eat, talk, move and walk again. After a gruelling six week course of head and spine radiotherapy, brave Arthur can now move around using a walker and is starting to form sentences again. However, the fight is far from over for Arthur who will soon start eight rounds of chemotherapy to prevent the tumour growing back.
Simon, who confesses he is 'unfit', is taking part in the Brain Tumour Research 'Jog 26.2 Miles in May challenge as he said: "We’re so proud of him.
"The fundraiser is definitely a challenge for me; although I’m physically strong, I’m not a runner. I thought people would find it amusing to see a 6ft, 18 stone, farmer running around the fields and footpaths of rural Dorset. I haven’t done any running since school and even then, I was quite lazy.
"Aside from the comedy element of my running challenge, there’s a very serious message about the severe lack of funding for brain tumour research, which I’m hoping to get out there."
Community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, Mel Tiley said: "Arthur’s story is a stark reminder of how indiscriminate brain tumours are, affecting anyone at any time. We’re determined to improve the shocking statistics surrounding the disease and are grateful for supporters like Simon who, by taking part in challenges like this, will enable us to continue funding vital research and, ultimately, find a cure. We wish Arthur the best of luck for the next stage of treatment and are thinking of him and his family at this time."