A BRAVE youngster who has battled back against the odds after being diagnosed with a brain tumour really has gone to great lengths for charity.
Jack Butt’s world was torn apart this summer when medics discovered a tumour the size of a tangerine and were forced to carry out emergency life-saving surgery.
But since then the 12-year-old has battled back from near death - and completed a gruelling charity fundraising swim that helped draw in more than £10,000 for the hospital that saved his life.
Proud dad Darren said: “He has done brilliantly. We’re all just so proud of him and how hard he has worked.
“There is still a long way to go and we don’t know if the tumour has totally gone away, but at the moment he is doing great and throwing himself into raising as much money as he can.”
The family’s nightmare began in the summer when Jack woke for school one morning, complaining of double vision.
“We took him to the doctor to get him checked,” said Darren, a foreign exchanges trader. “We thought he might just need glasses.”
Instead he was referred to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, where a specialist advised an MRI scan and the lump was discovered.
“From that moment our world fell apart,” said Darren, who lives with wife Mandy and the couple’s four other children at West Stockwith, near Misterton.
“We were absolutely devastated. Up until that point, Jack had been such a healthy boy - very sporty and always playing football and doing very well at school. There was absolutely no indication anything was wrong so it came as a massive shock.”
Jack underwent emergency surgery at Sheffield Children’s Hospital in a complex 15-hour operation - and ‘died’ several times on the operating table as surgeons attempted intricate manoeuvres to tackle the tumour.
Fortunately, the op to remove as much of the lump as possible proved successful - but a new chapter of problems then began.
“He was very poorly and in intensive care,” added Darren. “He was unconscious and having difficulty breathing and was being kept alive on life support.”
The battling youngster underwent a tracheostomy and, eight weeks after the nightmare began, he was allowed home. Since then has made a remarkable recovery.
“He still has a long way to go and he is a far cry from what he was before,” said Darren. “He still has some double vision and we don’t know what will happen with the tumour. But he’s shown such determination and fight and wanted to give something back to the hospital which is why he has thrown himself into the fundraising.”
Mum Mandy has now become a full-time fundraiser and the pair hit upon the idea of the 50 lengths swimming challenge as part of Jack’s rehabilitation.
“He couldn’t even swim a length a month or so ago, but he trained every day and worked hard and when he completed the challenge he was over the moon,” said Darren. “The response from the public has been amazing and people have really got behind what Jack has been doing. To raise £10,000 in such a short space of time is an incredible achievement. It has given him and us something positive to focus on and work towards.”
The family are now planning a charity fancy dress football match and a golf day in the new year to further boost the campaign total.
To donate to Jack’s appeal, visit Jack Butt Fundraising