Jimmy Nolan is a beautiful, fun-loving and very active two-year-old. He adores playing with his toy dinosaurs, splashing around during bath time, playing with his much-loved toy kitchen and baking scones. As the baby of the family, Jimmy is adored by his two big brothers: Cillian (7) and Ruairí (4). Jimmy, in his own words, loves being “A Little Goose” for his devoted parents; Colette and Paddy.
After vomiting just twice in 36 hours, Jimmy complained of having “a sore head mammy”. Jimmy attended St. Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny where he was admitted overnight for observations. The following evening, Tuesday the 24th of January, Jimmy’s parents (Colette and Paddy) realised every parent’s worst nightmare, when a CT scan showed a large brain tumour. Jimmy was urgently transferred to Temple Street Hospital via ambulance, where immediate treatment commenced. The following day, Jimmy was brought for emergency surgery to insert a drain to relieve the fluid on his brain. Jimmy’s tumour was identified as a very large Ependymoma and proved challenging for the surgeons as it was embedded within blood vessels and was pressing on nerves for the eyes, face muscles, speech, and swallow.
Colette and Paddy were informed that the first steps in Jimmy’s treatment plan required a number of surgeries to remove the tumour.
In less than a week after diagnosis, Jimmy underwent two lengthy back-to-back surgeries. Post surgeries, Jimmy suffered complications due to being sedated and intubated for such long periods. He initially experienced issues with swelling in his throat causing him difficulty in clearing his lungs. Jimmy developed a condition known as posterior fossa syndrome. Jimmy was unable to speak or cry for a number of weeks. His swallow and reflexes were affected, and although they are improving, he relies on a nasogastric feeding tube for nutritional support. His balance and coordination have been affected; however, doctors hope that these symptoms will resolve in time. Jimmy’s gorgeous little face now has right-sided facial palsy, and his right eye is affected. He developed a cerebral fluid infection which delayed the insertion of a shunt. This surgery was delayed by 6 weeks but now gives Jimmy greater freedom and relief. In the interim, Jimmy underwent a third surgery to remove the last of the tumour evident on the MRI. In total, Jimmy underwent 6 surgeries during his 9 weeks in the incredible care of Temple Street. A cruel harrowing journey that no child should have to endure.
This was an extremely difficult time for Colette and Paddy witnessing their little boy fight for his life, while at the same time living away from their two other young children. However, Jimmy’s strength and determination has never faltered, and continues to be a source of strength to all who know and love Jimmy.
After nine long weeks of uncertainty, Jimmy returned to his home in North Kilkenny, where he and his parents were reunited with Cillian and Ruairí. Jimmy embarks on the next stage of treatment in the coming weeks; Proton beam radiotherapy—radiation targeted directly at the tumour area to prevent any return.
On the 3rd April 2023, Jimmy and his family travelled to Essen, Germany, for at least 6-8 weeks, to receive this specialist treatment.
Thankfully, the HSE cover the cost of treatment and The Gavin Glynn foundation provide immeasurable help with flights, accommodation, transportation and living expenses for the duration of the family stay.