A four-year-old girl who was born with a malignant tumour the size of a tennis ball in her neck is set to start school, having made an “amazing recovery”.
Jenna Smith has been through months of chemotherapy and was not able to speak until she was nearly three years old due to having a tracheostomy tube.
The tumour, which was so large it had flattened her windpipe, was discovered when her mother, Lisa Smith, 42, was 32 weeks pregnant.
Doctors feared that Jenna would not be able to breathe when she was delivered, meaning she need an operation to insert a tracheostomy.
However, Mrs Smith’s waters broke earlier than expected and the mother, from Penrith, Cumbria, had an emergency caesarean section on March 24 2014.
Speaking about the birth, Steven Powell, a consultant surgeon at the Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, said: “As soon as we got the call, everyone pulled together and we had a team of obstetricians, anaesthetists, surgeons, nurses – everyone we needed to make sure that we could carry out critical surgery to Jenna’s airways before delivering her safely.”
Soon after the birth, Jenna had to be taken to the Great North Children’s Hospital to have the tumour removed, and it was discovered it was a malignant mass which would require chemotherapy.
In February 2017 she had the tracheostomy tube removed, enabling her to speak properly, and now remains in remission, the Royal Victoria Infirmary said, calling it an “amazing recovery”.
Describing her daughter’s treatment as a “real rollercoaster ride”, Mrs Smith said Jenna is now looking forward to starting reception class at Stainton Primary School in Penrith.
She said: “Looking back on those early days of Jenna’s life, it was horrendous.
“Now, thanks to everyone at the RVI and the Great North Children’s Hospital, we have a beautiful, happy, healthy little girl.
“She is very excited about starting school with her friends from nursery. It’s another big milestone in her short but eventful life.”