Community rallies round for Kayden


Kayden with his sister Lilly (left) and cousin Georgia after their haircuts

After an MRI scan at St Mary’s Hospital because of headaches, 14-year-old Kayden Cantelo was diagnosed with a brain tumour and airlifted to the mainland for an urgent biopsy. His shocked family, turned to the Wight Brainy Bunch for help, a charity founded by Mark and Kathryn (known as Kat) Grimes after fire-fighter Mark was diagnosed with a brain tumour in February 2015.

Still the subject of investigations, it may be a thalamic tumour, in the very centre of his brain if so, it will require specialist treatment. Kayden’s Mum Leanne Cantelo, told the IW Observer: “It’s very rare, the doctor told me he had never seen it before, it could be one tumour, or two and we are waiting for the full results. If we’re lucky it will be a low-grade non-aggressive tumour but right now, we’re in limbo and not sure what we’re dealing with.” Kayden has already had to miss a cruise with his twin brother, but Leanne says: “It’s been a long summer and it’s been tough, but this has definitely brought us closer together as a family.”

Kayden has had a drain fitted to relieve the build-up of fluid and a lumbar puncture, and his symptoms have disappeared for now, but if bad news comes he may need treatment in the USA. The NHS will fund it, but there will be incidental expenses to be found.

Kayden after surgery

Fundraising has already started with a 12-hour non-stop cycle marathon held at Pebbles Ice Cream Parlour on Sunday (Sept 1). Organised by Jen Cooks volunteers pedalled from 8am to 8pm.

Councillor Ian Ward dropped by to take a turn saying: “I was very pleased to be asked to support this important event by the ladies from Pebbles. It’s such a good cause and it’s tremendous that Sandown’s residents are always willing to help. Good luck Kayden, we hope all goes well.“

Debs Webb, Steph Jeffreys, Cllr Ian Ward, Jen Cook and Sarah Marie Tyrell-Jones

More help was raised closer to home as Kayden’s sister Lilly Cantelo, seven, and cousin Georgia Staley, nine, decided to donate their long hair to the Little Princess Trust, which provides real hair wigs for young people with hair loss. Leanne, who also had her hair chopped said: “Since she was very young Lilly has wanted hair as long as Rapunzel’s, but she really wanted to do this to help her brother.”

Georgia and Lilly before they cut their hair for The Little Princess Trust

They have smashed their £300 target with over £2,300 raised on their Go Fund me page.

School friends have also rallied round raising money at two car boot sales.

Leanne said: “If not needed all funds will go to the Wight Brainy Bunch, who have done so much to help us and other Island children. They have been fantastic. Kat has supported us with everything — not just travel costs, which has been incredible — but also emotional and other practical support”.

Donations can be made online at http://gofundme.com/f/ec4mn-chop-chop?member=2733592