An incredibly brave four-week-old baby from Hanworth is fighting for his life in hospital after being born with a tumour.
Born on March 21 with blue baby syndrome, Bleu Saunders from Hanworth has already undergone multiple operations to drain fluid from the brain as well as to remove a large tumour, at King’s College Hospital where he remains.
Devastated parents Hayley Excell, 33, and Paul Saunders, 39, face another battle as they were told on Wednesday (April 20) their super son will require a shunt, a thin tube inserted into the brain so excess fluid can be directed to others parts of the body where it is harmlessly absorbed.
Heartbroken grandmother Pauline Saunders explained Baby Bleu was born with mature teratoma, an ovarian germ cell tumour, where cells stay in the fetus and grow with the baby but are not detectable until after birth.
Mrs Saunders said: “Later that evening after Bleu was born the nurse saw there was a slight discrepancy in his head circumference. They found he had fluid in the brain and a large tumour.
At 17-days-old Bleu had brain surgery to remove a tumour
“The surgeon managed to get most of the tumour out but had to leave a small stump in there as blood vessels were still attached and is more dangerous to remove and were told it hopefully shouldn’t affect him.”
Bleu was just a few days old when he entered the operating theatre for the first time to remove fluid in the brain, but complications meant after inserting drains to relieve pressure further surgery had to wait.
In preparation for more surgery drainage tubes were inserted, and at 17 days-old he had another brain surgery with renowned neurosurgeon, who flew out to operate on Michael Schumacher, Christopher Chandler, to remove the thankfully benign tumour.
However the little fighter and his doting parents will have to wait to find out if brain shunt surgery is needed.
Recently, we told the story of a woman from Isleworth who remarkably survived a brain tumour after being told she had four months to live and is now raising awareness of the "woefully underfunded" condition.
Meanwhile, a fundraiser - Baby Bleu's Fundraiser - has been organised by the people of Hanworth to support the family through this difficult time.
With dad Paul’s compassionate leave finished and on unpaid leave the community has rallied together to drum up funds to help pay for the bills, rent and other essentials for the couple’s family.
The fundraiser will include pony rides, bouncy castle, face painting, entertainers including a balloon maker and dozens of raffle prizes from a signed Chelsea FC memorabilia, a mountain bike, two nights hotel stay, and a whole lot of toys.
Donations have been made by local stores including Homebase and Curry’s, with school’s getting involved too by selling raffle tickets.
Mrs Saunders added: “It’s amazing how the community have pulled together. It’s when something like this happens you find out how much people do care.
“I was on the bus the other day and a pensioner gave me £5 as a donation and total strangers are stopping us in the street and asking us about Bleu.
“If this (fundraiser) eases the burden on them a bit it’s wonderful.
“We would like to thank everybody from the bottom of our hearts - they have been amazing.”
'Baby Bleu is such a fighter'
Family friend Michelle Thomson of Hanworth who has been helping with the fundraiser, added: “Baby Bleu is such a fighter.
“You cannot believe what the family are going through. The mum and dad have not left his side as their boy has been so poorly.
“The parents have gone through hell and back and they have bills to pay.
“The whole community have come together to help baby Bleu.”
The Baby Bleu fundraiser will be held at Hanworth Villa Football Club on April 30 from 1pm to 6pm. Dress code blue.
A fundraising page has also been set up by family friend Kaleigh-Jane Scott who will undertake the Tough Mudder Challenge to raise money.
Donations can be made on Baby Bleu's Go Fund Me page .