When 8-year-old Sean McNeal told his parents his forehead felt hot, they had no idea what he meant. He did not have a fever and seemed fine. Just a few weeks later Sean’s mother received a call from his school that he had passed out on the playground.
When she got to the school, the ambulance was taking Sean to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL. He had had a stroke on the playground and had bleeding on his brain. The next day Sean had surgery to remove the brain tumor no one knew had been there – an anaplastic astrocytoma. His mother Irma McNeal described the moments before his surgery: “The hardest part was walking down that long hall to the operating room and not being able to go any further …”
Sean survived the surgery. He then spent three weeks in a coma, followed by three months at Scottish Rite. Sean’s father and family stayed in Valdosta while he and his mother lived at Scottish Rite.
Now five years later he is doing well. He still can’t speak or walk and uses a feeding tube to eat, but his family is convinced that he will one day regain those abilities. The Valdosta Daily Times recently published an article about Sean and his family.
BTFC knows that only through increased awareness can the tragedy of pediatric brain tumor disease be cured. We applaud all the news agencies and outlets who help us to spread awareness and help inform the public.