Emma, Noah, Ethan and Henry
By Emma Brown
In October 2016, at 35 weeks pregnant with my third son, I was admitted to hospital with a headache. I work in a hospital in Wollongong, so there was no way my colleagues were not going to let me get it checked out. Within 48 hours, I couldn’t walk or talk, and I had lost all feeling on one side of my body.
I then had to undergo an MRI scan to discover the cause of the problem, which revealed I had a cavernous angioma – a blood vessel abnormality - in my brainstem. It was in the best interests of my unborn son and myself to have him taken out at just 36 weeks, and we then spent the next four weeks recovering in hospital with him.
Once I was recovered, I started to think about what was happening in my brainstem. I had a number of consultations, including with Professor Charlie Teo, but being a mother of three young boys, I just couldn’t face having risky surgery at this stage of my life. While I know there’s a chance the angioma could bleed again, I am feeling positive and I’m convinced it was linked to my pregnancy. I’m taking care of myself with an amazing support network and, while there are still some knock-on effects, I’m doing really well. So are my boys, Noah (6), Ethan (2) and my seven month old, Henry.
A couple of months ago, I bought Noah some water colour paints as he’d seen me buy a piece of art and started taking interest in it. He decided that he wanted to start painting and sell them to raise money for charity. His school has been amazing at introducing kids to the concept of charity and donations, and he’s really embraced that over the past year or so. He makes sure a portion of his pocket money goes to charity, as well as everything else a six year old usually wants to spend their money on.
I set up a Facebook group and invited my close friends and family to join it. This group, and a bit of word of mouth, has led to Noah raising $320 so far, and I am so proud of him. He’s enjoyed the whole process, from painting, to posting the pictures out to his fans, to going to the bank to deposit money. Every time we go to the bank, our cashier gives him an extra $3. It’s been an amazing experience for the whole family.
I asked Noah which charity he would like to donate his money to, and he wants to help people who have issues with their brains, so we settled on Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. He knows I do not have brain cancer, but he understands that it’s a cause that needs all the help it can get. We also recently learnt that a family member of a child in his kindergarten is going through chemotherapy for the disease, so it just made sense to support Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.
I am so proud of Noah. He has a huge heart and a generous
soul, and he’s never asked for anything in return for his fundraising.