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19th Aug 2023

Doctors thought 4ft11 girl was just short but it was actually far worse

Joseph Loftus

‘She’s just short for her age’

A mother who was told her daughter was just ‘short for her age’ was shocked when she realised her daughter had a rare brain tumour.

Jane O’Toole, 45, took her youngest child Faith to the doctors when she was 13 due to her height being a mere 4,11. Doctors dismissed Jane and told her Faith still has time to grow.

After a year has passed, Jane took her daughter back to the doctors who referred to a paediatrics unit for assessment.

There, Faith was diagnosed with Crainopharyngioma, a large, non cancerous tumour.


The brain tumour had grown all around Faith’s optic chiasm and through her optic nerve, which transmits electrical impulses from your eyes to your brain. Her pituitary gland, which controls a person’s growth, was taken over completely, which stunted her growth.

Speaking from Faith’s bedside at hospital, Jane said: “You never, ever think it’s going to happen to you. It’s amazing how it happens. We’re lucky because we managed to get on top of it but if we hadn’t, then she could have lost her sight completely.

“Everything could have been a lot worse but they think the tumour was there from the minute Faith was conceived. She’s had it all of her life. People need to listen to their gut instinct and acting on what they believe for their children.


“I knew something just wasn’t right and it’s about that really. We always worry about bothering the doctors but if we think that something is just not right, then it might not be.”

Faith underwent a gruelling nine-hour operation in July this year but thankfully, all of the tumour was removed.

Faith lost the sight in her left eye after the surgery and some other complications arose, however Jane says that she now spends every day completely happy and smiley.

Jane’s friends have now set up a GoFundMe page to support the family, as Jane is unable to work as a palliative nurse as she needs to stay with Faith in hospital.

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