A SOUTHWICK father has told the emotional tale of his young daughter’s battle with cancer.
Steve Huckle, 44, of Albion Street, is trying to get his book, Tara’s Tale, published to raise awareness of childhood brain tumours.
Despite the difficult subject, the book is very much a story of hope, he said, as Tara is currently tumour free following an operation in April.
“There are two parts to the book, it is kind of mine and Tara’s story, based around my online blog, plus facts and figures,” he added.
“I wanted to publish the book to raise awareness that brain tumours are the UK’s number one child cancer killer.”
He believes leukaemia gets more publicity, as tumours of the brain and central nervous system rank second in incidence.
Steve’s first daughter, Keira, nine, has had no problems and Tara, who was born in April 2007, was healthy until she was two.
Tara suddenly started squinting in June 2009 and became unsteady on her feet.
Her mum, Helena, who now lives in Ovingdean, took her to the doctor and she was referred to an eye specialist.
Concerns were raised and an MRI scan revealed Tara was suffering from a brain tumour the size of a tennis ball.
Steve said: “This was preventing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) draining properly, causing a build up of pressure and putting her life in danger.”
Tara was rushed to Kings College Hospital in London, and ‘arrived on death’s door’, in the surgeon’s words.
The story follows the family’s rollercoaster ride, including misdiagnosis.
Tara’s battle against her brain tumour continued, including two more operations.
In April this year, Tara had surgery at Great Ormond Street just before her sixth birthday.
A scan on July 4 confirmed there was no evidence of any recurrent or residual tumour.
Steve said: “Tara is really well at the moment. She had an operation on April 3, which was successful and removed all of the tumour.”
That doesn’t mean it won’t come back, he added, but there was hope the future will be brighter.
“After the journey we’ve had, it’s a wonderful place to find ourselves,” Steve said.
He is trying to raise funds to self-publish the book via Kickstarter. So far, he has raised £573, 10 per cent of the £5,500 needed.
Steve explained: “I have chosen this route because I believe crowdfunding offers a wonderful opportunity to further raise awareness of my daughter’s illness.”
Visit www.kickstarter.com and search for Tara’s Tale to find out more.
Steve said: “The book is an emotional roller-coaster that is deeply personal, but I have chosen to share it because I want to increase the profile of the condition (which I feel is vital if we are going to beat it).
“Tara’s story must be shared – other families need hope too.”
About 400 children in the UK develop brain tumours each year, with boys affected slightly more often than girls.