A FAMILY is raising awareness after four years spent battling an unexpected illness.
Tyler Murphy, from Barnham, was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was just 12 years old.
But the brave teenager is not only fighting for his health, but working to raise awareness for the illness which changed his life.
“About four years ago Tyler started suffering with the most dreadful headaches,” said Janice, Tyler’s mother.
“He was being sick and it was always at night-time. Initially, the GP said it was migraines. In the end we got him to the point where he could have an MRI scan.
“The consultant met us at the entrance to the ward and told us he had ‘the worst news for you and we need to get him to Southampton hospital now’.
Tyler, who is now 16, was rushed to Southampton Hospital where he had emergency life-saving surgery.
“They said it had to be done as soon as possible,” said Janice.
“But they couldn’t get all the tumour out. The surgery had affected his eyesight.”
Tyler was in and out of hospital for the next two years.
“He did fantastically,” said Janice.
“He got himself out of the wheelchair. But the damage to his eyesight is permanent.”
Tyler has had about ten operations – and last year, the tumour began to grow again,
“He has lost most of his teenage years,” said Janice. “He is so good with it – he has been so positive.
“All he wants to do is get the message out there and make sure people look out for symptoms.”
Tyler has made a DVD for the Brain Tumour Charity to raise awareness for tumours in young people. He also did an interview on Spirit FM and he has also been contacted to appear on Children in Need.
The family has been helped by the Snowdrop Trust, which provides care at home for children with life-threatening illnesses and also helps families financially.
“When he first came out of hospital, he put on about three stone because of the steroids,” said Janice.
“They gave us a nurse to come and visit us at home. She was able to support us with medical things.
“The staff at Howard Ward at St Richard’s Hospital were also fantastic.”
Tyler is a twin and his brother Ben has been supporting him through his treatment.
“He has been amazing,” said Janice.
“It is really hard for the sibling. Particularly with the radiotherapy, where we had to up sticks for six weeks.”
The twins were both students at Philip Howard and are currently studying at Chichester College.
“Tyler is having a gradual return to college.”
Janice said the Brain Tumour Charity and the Snowdrop Trust has been incredibly supportive during Tyler’s illness.
“We are four years in and they have been there all the way through with us.”