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Boy whose symptoms were dismissed as 'attention seeking' found to have brain tumour

By Charlotte Penketh-King & Steven Smith

A little boy is now undergoing gruelling treatment for a brain tumour after doctors dismissed his symptoms as 'attention seeking'. The parents of young Arthur Ridout, three, spent months begging doctors to take the little lad's symptoms seriously.

His mum Lauren repeatedly took her son to the hospital after he kept complaining of dizzy spells, nausea and headaches and was outraged at their dismissal of his symptoms, she said. It took two months of visits to their GP and various hospitals before Arthur was finally diagnosed with an aggressive medulloblastoma - the most common type of cancerous brain tumour in children.

With Arthur finally receiving treatment, his dad Simon Ridout, 39, is now fundraising for the Brain Tumour Research charity to help find a cure for the cancer. Cattle farmer Simon, who lives in East Chelborough near Evershot with his wife Lauren, his son Arthur and his son 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's symptoms first began to show at nursery in December 2021, where staff noticed he was unstable on his feet and needing more naps and ended up being sent home with sickness numerous times. Concerned mum Lauren took her son to the GP after he repeatedly complained of dizzy spells and headaches, but claims she was told to simply 'keep an eye on him'.

He 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 said: "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 retuned 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.

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."

Arthur Ridout with dad Simon (Brain Tumour Research/SWNS)

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 - and 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 the little lad, who will soon start eight rounds of chemotherapy to prevent the tumour growing back. Inspired by his brave boy, dad Simon is raising money for Brain Tumour Research to find a cure for the devastating cancer by taking part in the charity's 'Jog 26.2 Miles in May Challenge'.

Simon, who says he is 'unfit', 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.

Arthur Ridout is now undergoing gruelling treatment for a brain tumour after doctors dismissed his symptoms as 'attention seeking' (Brain Tumour Research/SWNS)

"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."

To support Simon’s fundraising, click here.

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Dive Deeper:
Doctors told boy his symptoms were 'attention seeking' but it was dangerous tumour
After three-year-old Arthur Ridout was rushed to A&E after falling ill in the park, one medic suggested his symptoms could…
Boy labelled 'attention seeking' actually had aggressive brain tumour
Arthur's parents said they were dismissed by doctors who told them to 'keep an eye on him'
Toddler branded 'attention seeking' by doctors diagnosed with plum-sized tumour
Arthur Ridout was regularly taken to hospital by his worries parents who pleaded with doctors to take their three-year-old's illness…
Lanarkshire residents pay tribute to tragic little Rayhan
Airdrie neighbours decorate their street each year to remember the four-year-old "ray of sunshine".
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
High Court rules boy, 12, in coma must undergo tests to see if he is brain dead
Specialists should try to establish whether Archie Battersbee, who has not regained consciousness since suffering "catastrophic" brain damage in an…
New tumour-injecting gel to treat brain cancer revealed
Mahidol University has introduced biopolymer gel, a new drug delivery system, to effectively treat brain cancer patients while also reducing…
Get all your news in one place