Macclesfield tots get their hats on for charity after family brain tumour tragedy

By James Kelly

15th Mar 2021 | Local News

Toddlers from a Macclesfield nursery are fundraising to help find a cure for brain tumours; a cause close to the heart of one of the families.

Macclesfield Day Nursery is supporting the national charity Brain Tumour Research by holding a Wear A Hat Day event at the school.

It's after one of the parents, Liza Savin, 44, lost her mum Gaynor Goodier to a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in April 2017.

Mum-of-two Liza, a customer service consultant for Royal London in Alderley Edge, said: "Mum was diagnosed with a grade 4 GBM just two weeks before my wedding day, in May 2016. She didn't have any major symptoms that you might expect with a brain tumour; no headaches, dizziness or sickness.

"She just suffered some slight memory loss, forgetting people's names, for example. One day she went to the chemist to pick up a prescription and when they asked her address, she couldn't remember it."

Gaynor, a retired hairdresser, who lived with her husband David in Tytherington, went to see the doctor, who initially thought she may have an infection.

Liza added: "When that came back clear, they asked her to come back again and did some tests for dementia. From the answers she gave, they concluded that she may have early onset dementia and she was sent away with some leaflets.

"Not convinced with the diagnosis, we asked for another appointment and mum saw a different doctor, who thought she may have had a stroke, so she was booked in for a scan."

The MRI scan revealed a "mass" in Gaynor's head, which was eventually diagnosed as an aggressive brain tumour. The only treatment available would be to try to extend her life, rather than save it.

Liza said: "As her diagnosis came just a fortnight before I was due to get married, it was agreed that Mum would delay treatment until after the wedding. She had an awake craniotomy at Salford Royal Hospital and underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy under the care of The Christie.

"Mum was always so positive and full of life and she remained this way throughout her treatment. She didn't like losing her hair though and the most devastating thing for her was that she eventually lost her speech."

In November 2016, she was told the tumour was growing back and nothing more could be done. Gaynor's wish was to stay at home, rather than go into a hospice, so she was cared for by her family, with the support of East Cheshire Hospice.

Gaynor was aged 76 when she died in April 2017, when Liza was seven months pregnant with her second son, Elijah. She left behind her husband David, Liza and her brother Chris and three grandsons, Thomas, Oliver and Noah.

Liza said: "The impact Mum's death had on all of us was huge. Mum was at the centre of everything and she was always so vivacious and fun. Her absence is still felt greatly.

"My mum and dad were married for 50 years and did everything together, so Dad's life was very different after she died. He very sadly passed away from pneumonia in June 2020, following a planned operation for skin cancer."

For five days from 22 March 2021, the staff and children at the nursery from the 'Swans' and 'Preschool' rooms aim to do 500,000 steps and hope to raise £200 in sponsorships.

Their challenge finishes on 26 March, to coincide with Wear a Hat Day where the two and three-year-olds have been making party hats to wear.

Pre-school practitioner Emily Cawley said: "We will be spending lots of time outdoors and engaging in physical activities to help boost our steps.

"When we found out about Wear A Hat Day, we knew we had to get involved. We didn't realise initially that one of our families has a personal connection to the disease but when we spoke to Liza about her mum, it seemed like a really fitting cause.

"We're also keen to support the charity because it receives no income from the Government and relies entirely on funds raised by supporters to help get closer to a cure."

Nursery director Patricia Stanier said: "I am so proud of all the children and staff for taking part. We're delighted to be supporting this hugely important cause, especially after discovering that brain tumours kill more children and adults under than age of 40 than any other cancer. I have personally pledged to donate an additional £100 to the charity if we hit our target of £200."

Liza said: "I think it's fantastic that Macclesfield Day Nursery is fundraising for Brain Tumour Research. One thing that surprised me is just how common brain tumours are and more awareness is desperately needed to draw attention to the issues surrounding the disease.

"Mum was a wonderful grandmother to Noah and she sadly never got to meet Elijah. It's wonderful to think he will be donning his hat and doing his steps in her memory."

Now in its 12th year, Wear A Hat Day has raised more than £2 million to help fund the fight against the disease. This year they are celebrating key workers.

To register to take part in Wear a Hat Day, click here.


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