The heartbroken mum of an Ilkeston toddler who lost her battle against a brain tumour wants to let other parents know the symptoms she suffered in a bid to raise awareness of the disease.
Isabel Bojko - affectionately nicknamed Bluebell because of her big blue eyes - was just three-years-old when she died in July 2009.
Her mum, Jo Bojko, said: “We think about Isabel all the time but it was this time of year when she first started showing signs of being poorly and in her memory we would like others to know what symptoms to look for.
“I was to and from the doctors with Isabel in the run up to her being diagnosed and I just kept being told it was viral.
“She would be suffering from sickness, she was sleeping a lot but she would still be tired and lethargic and she had headaches as well.”
After several visits to her GP Isabel was referred to a specialist at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham.
Jo said: “The doctor rang up and made the referral as I sat there but it was six weeks until they could give Isabel an appointment.
“In the end we walked into A and E with her, we couldn’t wait that long when I knew there was something wrong.
“I remember the day we decided to take her so clearly, she came running into the room and she was leaning, she was off balance.
“I sat her down to give her breakfast and her co-ordination was poor, it was subtle but I noticed it and knew something was wrong.
“They carried out loads of tests and did scan after scan but it took another three or four weeks for her to be diagnosed.”
Jo and her husband Paul, who are also parents to Westley, 12, and Robbie, three, want people to know the symptoms to help them spot it early.
Jo said: “I’m not criticising the doctors but at the time we were angry, we knew something wasn’t right and had Isabel have been diagnosed earlier she may have had longer with us.
“How many children with brain tumours are GPs going to see in their career? It’s not a common thing but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen and a lot of parents we spoke to had a similar experience.
“They might not have been able to save her but we might have had extra time with our little girl.”
Despite Isabel having a rare kind of brain tumour, Jo said the symptoms are the same for all types.
She added: “Her tumour was rare because it wasn’t a lump or a mass, it was like a film over her brain which is part of the reason that it took so long to find out what was wrong with her.
“I don’t want to worry people but if Isabel’s story helps a child get diagnosed and have vital treatment sooner then it will have made a difference.
“The things I would urge people to look out for more than anything are the sickness, headaches and tiredness.
“I know lots of children have these symptoms but with Isabel they never really went away, she would have them, then have a few good days where she was fine again but they always came back.
“Also, trust your own instinct, something was telling me that something wasn’t right and it wasn’t.
“A mum knows her child better than anyone else and that counts when you are speaking to doctors.”