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Jenson's Story

Jenson's family visited Ben's Retreat in August 2023.

In March 2016 Jenson was born a happy, healthy baby that always had a smile on his face. Much to the delight of his older sister Delilah who very quickly found love for her sibling despite only being 3 herself when he arrived.
Jenson quickly took to being breast fed and it became his favourite snack. Which then led to him being a chunky boy which we all loved.
Once he got to around 6 months old, we had began to think his head was larger than average, but being a chunky boy we just put it down to this and figured he would 'grow into it', after all at this point other than a small chest infection and the usual colds, Jenson had not shown any symptoms or cause for concern.
Until on 27th September 2016, while watching Delilah at ballet he was violently sick out of the blue. Not being overly worried at this stage we thought we should get him checked to be safe and managed to get him an appointment at the local GP.
The nurse that we saw had seen Jenson a few weeks prior when he had his chest infection, so she was familiar with him. But instantly expressed concern over his increased head size since the last visit. At this point at 6 months old his head size was measuring in the 90th percentile on the growth chart, and was closer to where a 2-3 year should be.
He was then rushed into Basingstoke hospital for an immediate CT scan, the scan was showing alot of fluid on the brain so was taken by ambulance to the specialist department at Southampton children's hospital. Where he was put in for an MRI scan that evening and also carried out an incession into his head to release some of the excess fluid.
The following day we were sat down to be given the results of the scan, at this point our hearts sank when we were told Jenson had a very large high grade glioma(tumour), which is what had caused his head to grow and also meant his skull wasnt able to close up leaving him with a large soft spot.
On the Monday he was put under general anesthetic, and essentially his head opened up for the first of his operations to attempt to remove the tumour.
They were unable to finish this in one session so he remained in PICU overnight, it was so heartbreaking to see him being kept alive by machines at this point.
The following day he had the second of these operations where they were able to pretty much remove all of the tumour.
Following this Jenson then had to endure approximately 7 months of very intense chemotherapy, we were pretty much at the hospital for a minimum of 5 days at a time every other week. And even on his weeks off we would have constant blood checks, transfusions, dressing changes etc.
Despite all these constant battles Jenson had a smile on his face throughout, and no matter how scary the possible outcomes at each stage this little hero continued to come out on top. Being around so many different nurses and other people at hospital Jenson started learning to talk and develop through treatment.
Jenson completed his treatment and then needed a shunt put in place to manage the excess fluid filling the void left from where the tumour was. And still has ongoing MRI scans which are now every 6 months and he still has regular checks with various other departments such as physio.
Jenson then continued to smile and has developed into a very chatty and loving little man. And has been and inspiration for so many. What we have been through as a family although it's been horrific and traumatic, it has completely changed our outlook on life.
These breaks away really do make such a difference, they allow us the opportunity to create memories and new experiences and a chance for Delilah and Jenson to continue the loving bond they created during the hard times. We can't thank you enough and will always be grateful.

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