Cancer teen flys off for dream holiday

Ballyclare teenager Craig McDowell with parents Jacqueline and Scott depart from Belfast International Airport for Florida for a dream holiday. INNT 36-616con
Ballyclare teenager Craig McDowell with parents Jacqueline and Scott depart from Belfast International Airport for Florida for a dream holiday. INNT 36-616con

BALLYCLARE teenager Craig McDowell this week departed for a dream holiday to Universal Studios in Orlando Florida.

The 15 year old was given the week-long holiday of a lifetime through the Make-A-Wish Foundation after he underwent major brain surgery in December last year.

Surgeons at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children removed a golf-ball sized tumour from the teen’s brain during a 10-hour operation.

Sadly, doctors think there may still be two-thirds of the tumour remaining and the Ballyclare Secondary School pupil may have to undergo chemotherapy later this year.

His grandfather Trevor McCusker told the Times: “He is such a great lad and a fantastic footballer. Craig has been through so much in the past year it has been hard on him and the whole family.

“When he had his surgery last year no one thought it would last as long as it did and we were all very worried.

“And when he came out of the operation he had no memory, couldn’t write and was paralysed down the one side of his face. He wasn’t able to take a drink for himself it was that bad.

“He also took these brain seizures and we were all very worried about him.

“But after three big massive brain seizures he was alright. He had regained his memory, facial movements and the ability to write it was incredible.

“But he still needs constant supervision in case he takes another brain seizure - they can be very dangerous to him.”

Trevor continued: “The tumour they removed was huge, but the doctors think there may be even more of it left that they didn’t manage to take.

“His doctors think it may be too risky to go through the same operation again, so he may have to have chemotherapy instead.”

This week Craig left for America for a dream holiday in Universal Studios in Florida organised by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Trevor added: “It has been a tough year for Craig and the family and this is a dream holiday for him.

“The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been incredible. It organised everything for him to go away including getting the insurance which can be very difficult for people like Craig.

“Hopefully he will have a great time away in American - he really does deserve it.”