Mar 14 2013 by Jamie Bowman, Ormskirk Advertiser
A PROMISING architecture student has been forced to completely relearn her subject after suffering from a life- threatening brain tumour.
Kate Dooley, 21, of Rose Place, Aughton, was just one year into her course at Glasgow School of Art when she began to experience headaches and memory loss.
After repeated visits to the doctor, she was diagnosed with the rare condition central neurocytoma which saw a tumour the size of a snooker ball attach itself to the middle of her brain.
But now, following several hours of painstaking surgery and two years of treatment to restore her memory and fitness, Kate is hoping to resume her studies in September.
Kate said: “I remember revising really hard for an exam and then when I sat there my mind went completely blank.
“I thought it was just the stress of the exam but I began to feel funny and started suffering from headaches.” Doctors prescribed Kate with migraine medication which seemed to work until the former St Bede's Catholic High School pupil was on a night out celebrating with friends.
“I’ve never really been able to have a drink because I felt ill and I’d always wondered if it was something more serious.
“That night I had a funny turn and ended up lying on the floor and I had no idea why. Then, on the Sunday evening, I started being sick and didn’t stop for seven hours.”
After rushing to Southport Hospital, doctors were still none the wiser until a scan revealed the massive tumour which Kate was told required removal straight away.
“They told me they’d found a blockage and if it was left in I would be dead within months. It wasn’t much of a choice.”
After surgery at the Walton Centre, in Aintree Hospital, Kate surprised nurses by seemingly making a quick recovery.
“I was so happy and everyone said I was really positive but then two days later I started having fits and they found fluid on my brain.”
Throughout last year, Kate went through a gruelling period of physio and therapy as she tried to restore her mental and physical functions: “It was a very slow process,” said Kate.
“The left side of my brain was badly affected and I couldn’t walk or get up the stairs and was very weak.”
Just as worrying was the severe loss of memory which left Kate severely confused.
“Mum and dad would bring in get well soon cards and I’d be all excited and then the next day they’d bring in the same cards and I’d be excited all over again.
“The therapist carried out memory exercises with me, but I remember one time I thought I was still in work because the nurses’ uniforms reminded me of the Apple staff in the Liverpool shop where I worked.”
More worrying still was how the talented student was ever going to be able to resume her studies this September.
“I have visited the head of the school and despite not being able to do anything academically for two years they have agreed to ease me back in.
“My psychologist has warned me not to rush things, in case I get stressed, but I’m going to set myself little targets and projects as I continue to relearn everything I’ve forgotten.
“I’ve started the process and have been working in the Chapel Art Gallery to get myself back into a routine.”
Kate is now hoping that two of her friends can help her pay tribute to the doctors who she says she owes her life to.
Kieran Taylor, 21, from Southport, and Tom Crookham, 22, from Aughton, will run the Paris Marathon on Sunday, April 7, with all funds raised going to the Walton Neuroscience Fund.
Kate, who will travel over to the French capital to support her friends, said: “When they told me what they were doing, I burst into tears.
“We all became good friends at Winstanley College and I’m definitely going to be there cheering at the finish line.”
To donate to Kieran and Tom’s appeal, go to: uk.virgin moneygiving.com/team/ runforkate