A Flintshire woman, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour during her pregnancy, will be donning a famous red suit to raise funds to help find a cure for the disease.

On December 21, Carrie-Ann Greenwood, 31, will take part in a Covid-secure Santa Dash to raise funds for the charity Brain Tumour Research. Full-time mum Carrie-Ann, from Holywell, was 36 weeks pregnant when a sudden loss of vision on her right side prompted her to visit her optician. She was referred for an MRI scan, which revealed a golf ball-sized pituitary tumour. The diagnosis in May 2016 led to an emergency caesarean section to deliver her daughter Cerys, followed by brain surgery just days later.

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Carrie-Ann said: "The doctors at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan initially planned to induce my labour but when they sought advice from the neurological team at the Walton Centre in Liverpool, they were warned that an induction could cause a fatal increase in pressure inside my skull."

Cerys was born by c-section, weighing a perfectly healthy 5lb 8oz. She arrived on May 6, the day after Carrie-Ann's 27th birthday. But rather than bonding with her newborn, the new mum was forced to hand over baby Cerys to her own mother, as Carrie-Ann was rushed by ambulance to The Walton Centre for emergency neurosurgery.

Carrie-Ann said: "I arrived at The Walton by 5pm, just hours after giving birth. It was really awful leaving Cerys. I was so scared I would never see her again. I just wanted to be with her enjoying those precious first moments. My ex-partner, Cerys' dad Andrew, had to make the impossible decision of leaving her too, to accompany me to hospital."

Carrie-Ann's six-hour endoscopic surgery to remove the tumour took place on May 9, and was a success.

Carrie-Ann added:

"I'll be forever grateful for the way in which staff at The Walton and Ysbyty Glan Clwyd looked after me and Cerys. They managed to bring Cerys to see me in Liverpool and the nurses were popping in and out all the time, not to see me but to see Cerys, as it was a novelty to have a tiny baby on the neuro ward."

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After her surgery, Carrie-Ann continued to be monitored with six-monthly scans. The tumour remained stable until March 2019, when some regrowth was detected. She had to have a course of radiotherapy, to try to shrink the tumour and prevent any further regrowth.

Carrie-Ann said: "I breezed through the radiotherapy but after my treatment I wasn't well enough to go back to my job at Abakhan Fabrics, Hobby & Home, in Mostyn, so I took some time out to be a full-time mum. Cerys is now in Year R at primary school and is thriving. I've recently submitted my application to study for a degree in forensic science at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. All being well, I will start next September, taking me one step closer to achieving my dream of becoming a forensic scientist."

This month Carrie-Ann and her brother Aaron Greenwood, 24, will be running shuttles along a section of the Wales Coastal Path between Greenfield Dock and Bagillit. Aaron serves in the British Army with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) and is currently based in Scotland. Their sponsored run is raising vital funds for Brain Tumour Research.

Carrie-Ann added: "Aaron will be wearing his Santa onesie and I'll be looking for something similar to match! My own experience taught me just how drastically underfunded this area of cancer research is. I count myself as one of the lucky ones because my tumour was low-grade and treatable but I know too many others are not so fortunate. I want to do my bit to help them and their loved ones."

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

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Joe Woollcott, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: "We were so sorry to learn about Carrie-Ann's brain tumour diagnosis but delighted she and Cerys and doing really well after such a dramatic start. Her fundraising as part of our virtual Santa Dash event is fantastic and will no doubt inspire others to get involved.


Taking place on December 12, Santa Dash is the perfect opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit, and help get Brain Tumour Research closer to a cure. Being a virtual event, if participants can't take part on December 12, they are free to choose an alternative date.

There is a private 'Santa Dash this December' Facebook Group for supporters who wish to take part. Once they have joined, they sign up and set up a Facebook fundraiser. Participants also receive a limited edition, bright pink Brain Tumour Research Santa hat to wear whilst doing the Dash (and whenever else they might like!).

• Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35m in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

To donate to Carrie-Ann's fundraiser, visit: www.facebook.com/donate/410287003495271/10158056277003458/