Thursday 20 June 2019

Baby Séimí's brave battle

David and Orna with baby Seimi
David and Orna with baby Seimi

John Manning

Just 17 months into his life a little boy from Balrothery has been through more trauma than most adults could cope with after being diagnosed with a brain tumour just a few weeks after he was born.

Séimí Brennan has had an incredibly difficult start in life but continues to battle a rare form of cancer in his brain and spine with a smile on his face. In his first few weeks of life, Séimi developed hydrocphalus and had a shunt put in to drain fluid from his brain. At that time a benign tumour was found on the little boy's brain but doctors were confident it would develop into a significant problem.

Unfortunately for the Brennan family, that prediction proved to be wrong and three months later the tumour had tripled in sized and later he was diagnosed with a rare type of tumour that was continuing to grow. Last December, he underwent an operation to have it removed but there were further complications during the surgery that meant a small portion of the tumour had to be left behind.

All of this work went on in Temple Street where Séimí's mum, Orna, works as a nurse. She told the Fingal Independent: 'We hoped to be out of there by Christmas but just after Christmas, Séimí was diagnosed with surgical meningitis and had to go to theatre again.'

The ever cheerful and battling Séimí bounced back from that. He started attending rehabilitation in the Centra Remedial Clinic but this summer, Séimí's parents, Orna and David got the news they dreaded. As far as they were concerned, Séimi's tumour troubles were behind him but an MRI revealed the Balrothery baby had another tumour in his cerebellum - deeper in his brain and this one would be inoperable.

Orna said: 'We were floored by that one. We weren't expecting that at all and it was a major, major shock to us both. Séimí was developing well at that point, he was standing on his own and starting to walk with us holding his hands and he was eating and drinking well.'

A biopsy was carried out of the new tumour and his Séimí's spine was scanned and both were clear at the time but repeat scans in September showed both the new tumour and the old residual tumour were growing again and the cancer had spread down his spine and was 'acting very aggressively'.

Séimí's condition is so rare that doctors have not precisely identified the kind of tumour he has. That has proved to be a strange blessing in disguise because it has meant they have had to opt for chemotherapy. Oran explained: 'Our oncologist told us this is 'as bad as it gets' and we thought that might be followed by saying it was untreatable. What gave us some hope is that because they don't know precisely what kind of tumour it is, they have to treat it.'

Séimí is undergoing intensive chemotherapy at Crumlin Hospital and will know in December whether it has been effective. Orna has gone on leave from work to look after her little boy and friends have rallied to support the family. A table quiz for Séimí in the Bracken Court Hotel is on Friday, November 6. There is also a bank account for donations at TSB Balbriggan, Account Name - David and Orna Brennan, Account No. 24774909 and Sort Code 990669. Orna said the family had been overwhelmed with the support shown locally for Séimí and she is hugely grateful to all of Séimí's well-wishers. You can find out more on Facebook - search for 'Fundraising for baby Séimí and family'.

Fingal Independent