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Newent family's £5k fundraising bid after daughter Tegan, nine, diagnosed with brain tumour

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 15, 2014

  • Tegan Rendell in hospital

Comments (5)

LITTLE Tegan Rendell is only nine years old but has already been through a lifetime's worth of struggles.

What started out as type one diabetes, diagnosed days after her eighth birthday in April 2012, culminated with the discovery of a brain tumour last month.

The good news is it's benign, the bad is that doctors simply can't give Tegan, or mum Clare Constable, a definitive prognosis. It is too deep in her brain for them to be able to operate successfully.

"The doctors said she could live until 60 and not have a day's problem with it," said Clare. "But it could grow and, if they try to operate, the best case scenario is probably that she won't be able to walk or talk. They just can't say.

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"Until her eighth birthday she was perfectly healthy, there had never been anything wrong."

Now, friends, family and supporters are clubbing together to send the cheerleading fanatic to Florida in April for the sport's world finals. A trip to Disneyworld while she's there is on the cards too – but they need £5,000 to make it happen.

"The support has been unbelievable," said Clare. "It would be amazing to be able to go because she would absolutely love it, she loves cheerleading. We've got about £2,000 but it will cost around £5,000 for us to go, the most expensive thing is the medical insurance."

Tegan is clearly a fighter. She has been back to school at Picklenash Primary this week for the first time since last March, just for an hour a day.

But the diabetes diagnosis and the discovery of the tumour is just the tip of the iceberg for Tegan and Clare, who live in Meadowgrove, Newent.

Her diabetes treatment uncovered coeliac disease, an autoimmune condition that makes the body mistakenly attack itself and has left her with almost no lining in her intestines. She regularly has epileptic fits, sometimes 20 a day, and after her first seizure – the day after her ninth birthday last year – she was diagnosed with eosinophilic oesophagitis, an inflammatory condition of the wind pipe.

Last July, she was put on life support at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol after more fits, where doctors discovered she had glutamic acid decarboxylase mediated encephalopathy, affecting her brain.

Her body has been left swarming with "bad antibodies" and she underwent three long cycles of plasmapheresis. That's the removal, treatment and return of blood plasma from her circulation, which has helped ease, but not eradicate, the seizures.

"The doctors took some fluid from her to measure how many bad antibodies it was," said Clare, 43. "They said a level of 500 is dangerous. Tegan had 50,000.

"She is amazing though. Of course it's affected her – she's gone from a confident young lady to an anxious little girl – but she is very determined. Her friends, everyone at the school and the Gloucester Cheer and Dance Academy, where she did her cheerleading, have just been amazing. It's really been quite overwhelming."

Stars of the cheerleading world, including icon Gabi Butler, have been tweeting their support for Tegan and several fundraising events are on the cards to get the money together for her trip.

Search Facebook for the group Tegans Dream for details of them. There are also links there to a fundraising site where people can donate.

That's been set up by Sarah Watkins who said in its description: "Cheerleading is something Tegan has been doing for a few years and she lives for it.

"This is the biggest competition in the world and we know it would mean everything to her if she could go."

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  • GCAsmith  |  January 15 2014, 1:57PM

    Hi Lecorche you can post a cheque made payable to GCA and send to 21 Minstrel Way Churchdown, Gloucester, GL3 1NS. thanks so much

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  • Lecorche  |  January 15 2014, 1:18PM

    Is there any other way to donate? I don't trust online transactions but I'm willing to stump up to a face. As Halo123 has indicated,maybe TiG could pitch in and the readers can pay TiG.

    |   2
  • Halo123  |  January 15 2014, 9:52AM

    I wish Tegan and her family all the luck in the world. Isn't there a big company out there willing to provide Tegan and her family with cheap travel insurance at the very least? Come on Richard Branson and co. where are you

    |   5
  • GCAsmith  |  January 15 2014, 9:42AM

    Please donate to Tegans dream here http://tinyurl.com/oehayuk

    |   2
  • GCAsmith  |  January 15 2014, 9:27AM

    Please donate and make tegans dream come true here http://tinyurl.com/oehayuk

    |   1