A baby who survived a giant brain tumour returned home from hospital to celebrate his first birthday surrounded by hundreds of birthday cards from around the world.
Brave Roux Owen was discharged from hospital on his birthday after undergoing 10 operations in just 11 months to remove a tumour ‘the size of two oranges’.
His parents Antony and Amy, 32, from Hull, East Yorkshire, had expected him to spend the day in hospital so asked well-wishers to post birthday cards to the ward.
But on his birthday, they were told by doctors that he was being discharged and he could return home to spend the day with his parents and older brother Noah, three.
Roux Owen (pictured), one, was given the green light to return home on his first birthday, much to the delight of his family and hundreds of well-wishers who had been following his journey when doctors discovered he had a benign brain tumour
The one-year-old returned to his home in Hull, East Yorkshire, to hundreds of cards from around the world and celebrated his special day with his mother and father Amy and Antony, 32, and his older brother Noah, three (all pictured)
The brave boy was discharged from hospital on his birthday after undergoing 10 operations in just 11 months to remove a tumour ‘the size of two oranges’. Pictured, Roux after his seventh surgery – a tumour removal – in January
A global army of well-wishers sent cards to the ward where Roux had spent almost half of his life since being diagnosed with an immature teratoma, a benign tumour that continues to grow.
‘We were overwhelmed with the number of cards we received,’ said father Antony, an English teacher.
‘We’ve had hundreds from all around the world, as far away as Nigeria. He has touched so many people.
‘It seems strange but the love and support we have had from people means we’ve never felt alone during all this.’
Roux was diagnosed with a brain tumour in November last year when he was just four-weeks-old after his parents became concerned that he was not feeding properly.
Doctors at Hull Royal Infirmary blue-lighted the tot to Leeds General Infirmary – more than 50 miles away from the family’s home – for specialist treatment.
Roux had spent almost half of his life since being diagnosed with an immature teratoma, a benign tumour that continues to grow. Pictured left, after his eighth surgery to remove the remaining part of the tumour in August and right, after his first every surgery in November at just a month old
After his parents became concerned he was not feeding properly, they took him to see the doctors and he was eventually diagnosed with a brain tumour in November last year when he was just four weeks old after his parents became concerned that he was not feeding properly. Pictured, just taken off high dependency ward, August 2020
After eight major operations, the tumour was finally removed last month and he was beginning to recover back home.
What is a immature teratoma?
An immature teratoma is a type of germ cell tumour which is often made of several different types of tissue, including hair, muscle and bone .
They have cells that look different to normal cells under a microscope and are typically malignant.
In some cases immature teratomas can spread to other parts of the body.
The benign tumours make enzymes or hormones that may cause signs and symptoms of disease.
In newborns, immature teratomas are usually located in the sacram – a triangular bone at the base of the spine or the tailbone.
It can also occur in the ovaries as girls start puberty.
But Roux was rushed back to hospital last week after a shunt inserted in his head to remove excess fluid to reduce brain swelling became infected and blocked.
He needed another two operations to repair the shunt and drain fluid from his brain.
‘The tumour was 10cm long and it grew cysts,’ explained Antony. ‘A surgeon said to me it is the sort of thing they would see one in a career, if it all.’
Mother Amy, a primary school teacher, had been keeping an online diary of the family’s journey and Roux had amassed a legion of adoring well-wishers.
When it was feared that Roux would spend his first birthday in hospital, Antony reached out to their followers and asked for birthday cards to make his day special.
They received the best birthday present when doctors told the family that Roux was healthy enough to go home.
The tumour has left Roux without sight in his left eye and doctors believe he is a few months behind in his development.
But his happy personality has inspired his parents to hope that he will catch up with his development.
Antony said: ‘The doctors said that his development is a bit behind and his motor skills and his core strength aren’t what they should be.
‘They said they can’t say for sure if there is anything he won’t be able to do, until it comes to that point in his development.
‘He is such a happy, settled boy and he is doing things and hitting his milestones, just a bit later than he normally would have. But he has spent around six months in a hospital bed, so that is probably why.’
Doctors at Hull Royal Infirmary blue-lighted the tot to Leeds General Infirmary – more than 50 miles away from the family’s home – for specialist treatment. Pictured, Roux at Leeds General Infirmary after his ninth surgery (left) and recovering from a surgery when he was younger in December (right)
Roux’s mother Amy, a primary school teacher, kept an online diary of the family’s journey and the youngster had amassed a legion of adoring well-wishers
The well-wishers sent him hundreds of first birthday cards with sweet messages inside after following his journey for the first year of his life
And they are now hoping to make up for lost time and enjoy family life together with Roux and Noah, who have barely seen each other over the past year.
Antony added: ‘The last year has just been as hard for Noah, I can’t imagine what it has felt like for him.
‘Noah and Roux have got a close bond, but they should have spent the last doing all the things that brothers should do.
‘We’re really looking forward to seeing them together, that’s the thing we’re looking forward to the most.
When the parents feared Roux may have to spend his first birthday in hospital, they called upon his online followers to send him cards to make it an extra-special day for him. Pictured, Roux enjoying a family holiday to Great Yarmouth in August, with father Antony (left), and sitting up after his ninth surgery (right)
The tumour has left Roux without sight in his left eye and doctors believe he is a few months behind in his development. Pictured, Roux outside in his garden at home
The baby spent time in intensive care at Leeds General Infirmary after his 4th surgery in December (pictured left) but was lucky enough to leave hospital for Christmas day (right)
Despite the potential for set backs in his development due to the condition, his parents are confident his happy personality will help him catch up. Pictured, beaming mother Amy with son Roux at home in Hull, East Yorks
‘We can’t wait to do all the normal, boring family things together that we haven’t been able to do for the last year.’
The family have raised more than £30,000 for Leeds Cares, a charity that supports Ward 52, where Roux was treated during his stays in hospital.
‘I cannot express how amazing the staff at Leeds General are,’ explained Amy. ‘The surgeons, nurses, doctors, play leaders, house keepers and every single other person that has had a part to play in Roux’s journey.
‘The ward which primarily cared for Roux, L52, is a special place, ran by a team of very special people.
‘Day in, day out they worked flat out to ensure Roux received the best possible care. Words will never be enough to express how much L52 means to our family.
‘They’ve provided us with a future for our little boy that at one point we didn’t think we would have. It will always hold a very precious place in our hearts.
‘Maybe Roux was always destined to begin his first birthday surrounded by the people who made that possible.’
Visit Owen’s fundraising page to donate.
Roux’s parents hope he and his brother can now form an even closer bond as they can spend time together at home after being apart for so long due to the baby’s hospitalisation. Pictured, Roux in intensive care at Leeds General Infirmary after his fifth surgery in December
The family arrived home to hundreds of first birthday cards, with Baby Shark, Thomas the Tank engine and other sweet cartoons on them and crammed full of sweet messages from well-wishers
The family have raised more than £30,000 for Leeds Cares, a charity that supports Ward 52, where Roux was treated during his stays in hospital. Pictured, father Antony and Roux at home