Little Boy's Drawing Sent Him Straight To The Hospital
Joshua Patton 10/12/2017
Art can reveal deep truths about the artist, humanity, and the world, but for one seven-year-old boy from Morecambe, United Kingdom, his art literally may have saved his life.
Emre Erulkeroglu's mother and father were surprised when their sweet little boy started flying into a rage for no reason, throwing up at night, and complaining of pain. When they took him to doctors, the medical professionals were stumped.
For months, Emre suffered from painful headaches with no cure. Still the doctors told his mother Tiffani that her son was fine and there was nothing terribly wrong with him. Yet, the symptoms persisted and Emre was miserable.
Using his magnetic doodling tablet, Emre drew himself and something more. In his self-portrait Emre drew himself with a giant head, because that is how he felt. He then drew a dark, black dot right in the center of his forehead to indicate the pain of his crippling headache that "never went away".
Tiffani took a picture of the drawing, and renewed her efforts to get help for her son. She decided to do her own research, and found the HeadSmart website, which showed that Emre was displaying symptoms of a brain tumor.
He would become suddenly very drowsy, then he'd be nauseated and would scream with pain. She finally insisted that her son received an MRI, and he was put on a waiting list because the doctor didn't think it was an urgent case.
Finally, they discovered that he had an inoperable tumor, but one that they were able to treat because it had been caught early enough.
Even though Emre can't have surgery to remove the tumor, there are treatments that can help. He has had a lumbar puncture procedure and an endoscopic third ventriculostomy, a minimally invasive procedure that allows his cerebrospinal fluid to bypass the obstruction of the tumor.
While this hasn't "cured" Emre, it has stabilized him and increased his quality of life and granted him relief from his constant distress.
The family has spoken up about their struggles because they wanted to share their story. They credit HeadSmart, a partnership between The Brain Tumour Charity, The Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the UK, for saving Emre's life and believe that the group can help save other kids struggling with this affliction.
The program wants to help save kids' lives, but it also wants to encourage parents and medical professionals to be aware of the symptoms associated with this tumors. If Emre's diagnosis had been delayed any longer, he could have suffered permanent damage. The sooner a tumor is diagnosed, the better the chance these kids will go on to live happy, healthy lives.
You can hear Emre's story firsthand in the video below: