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Ettington community rallies to support family after Chace, seven, collapses with brain tumour

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An Ettington mum says she feels “devastated” after her little boy has been diagnosed with a brain tumour after he suddenly collapsed at home.

On 9th September seven-year-old Chace was playing at home after being picked up by his mum Emma Grant following a normal school day at the local primary when he suffered a stroke.

Since then Chace has been at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. After many scans and tests, a few days following his admission, Chace underwent a major nine-hour operation to remove part of the largest tumour from his brain.

Last Tuesday the family’s worst fear was confirmed when Chace was diagnosed with high risk and aggressive medulloblastoma brain cancer.

Chace in hospital.
Chace in hospital.

An appeal has been launched to help relieve the financial worries Emma faces as she dedicates herself to her son’s care, all while continuing to look after and provide for her two other sons: three-year-old Cole and her eldest son, Jordan.

Speaking with Emma’s permission and on her behalf, a family friend, who wished to remain out of the limelight, said: “Emma is well-known in Ettington, and not being drivers, they’re very much a village family. She works at the shop and is involved in Friends of Ettington School as well as running the village toddler group every week. She’s one of those people that always knows everyone and says hello.”

Meanwhile the friend described Chace as a “polite and outgoing little boy who loves to look after his little brother Cole and friends”.

Chace had been having dizzy spells prior to his collapse and Emma had been seeking a face-to-face appointment with a GP recently. Devastatingly an MRI scan has revealed that he has cancer in all cavities of his brain and on his lower spine, most of which are inoperable.

“Surgeons operated to remove as much of the main tumour as possible, which was causing pressure on his eye, stopping the circulation of fluid and giving him the dizziness,” said the friend.

Chace will be given time to recover before he starts the next phase of treatment, which involves chemotherapy and radiation therapy. He is expected to remain in hospital for a long time, including Christmas.

The impact of the family is described as “devastating”.

Chace with little brother Cole (51718206)
Chace with little brother Cole (51718206)

The friend said: “Emma is a strong person, but this has broken her. It would break anyone.

“Emma is living in hospital accommodation at the moment. Her three-year-old Cole and older son Jordan are at home with her partner,” explained the friend.

“Because of Covid there is a limit on who can visit him. Emma’s been up there the whole time, although she managed to come back last week for a day whilst Chace’s nanny was with him.”

During the pandemic, both Emma and her partner lost their jobs in hospitality and since then Emma had been working part-time in the local shop and doing cleaning jobs to make ends meet. As she’s had to stop work for now, a Gofundme page has been set up to help the family get by.

So far £3,600 has been raised.

“Everyone is so shocked by Chace’s illness, it’s had an impact on the whole village community,” said the friend. “There’s that feeling of this doesn’t happen to someone you know. It’s really hit home.”

Describing the thinking behind the fundraising, the friend said: “When I went to see Emma she was stressed about how she would cope financially without working. I told her not to worry, that we would sort it. If we can ease the situation, at least a bit of the financial worries, that would be something. It’s fundraising to keep the family afloat and also for Chace’s care in the future, although no one truly knows to what extent and what will be needed yet”

When the Gofundme page had hit £1,000 news of the fundraiser in Chace’s name was shared with Emma.

“She sat there with a tear in her eyes,” said the friend. “She was overwhelmed with gratefulness for all the support.”

In addition the family were being left gifts by the caring local community, and Chace’s school are sending messages, cards and gifts for both of them.

“The amazing surgeons, doctors and nurses and rehabilitation teams at Birmingham Children’s Hospital have said Chace is doing OK but will have good days and bad on the long winding road ahead of them. We’re not quite sure what the future holds. It’s going to be a long recovery for Chace, and it’s important we support the family every step of the way,” added the friend.

To donate, visit gofundme.com and search for ‘Help for Chace and his family’.

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