Parents Learn Toddler’s Crooked Smile is Symptom of Deadly Tumor

By Venus Upadhayaya

Parents of a 3-year-old in the United Kingdom learned that their son’s new crooked smile was the symptom of a deadly brain tumor and not some imitation that he might have recently picked up on.

Wesley Lacey and Rebecca Oldham from Sheffield were heartbroken after they learned that their child, Jack, has less than a year left to live, according to The Sun.

“We are two completely heartbroken Parents that have been given the worst news that no parent wants to hear,” Lacey wrote on a fundraiser appeal on GoFundMe.

Jack and Wesley Lacey
Picture shared of the 3-year-old Jack on GoFundMe by his father Wesley Lacey. (Pic courtesy Wesley Lacey/GoFundMe)

Jack has been diagnosed with what’s medically called diffuse pontine glioma which makes him smile using only one side of his face.

“Last month he started smiling with one side of his face, but we put it down to him seeing someone smiling like that and copying,” said Lacey.

The Sun reports that the couple took Jack’s condition seriously only when he started to blink, have night terrors, and walk with his hands out in front of him.

“We didn’t take any notice because it was so gradual, we just thought it was a bit funny, but this is his new smile.

“But Jack has been riding his bike since he was one, so to see him walking like that, I just knew something was wrong.

“All of these symptoms came on within a four-week period and they weren’t obvious things.

“We put them down to growing up and him becoming his own little person,” said Lacey, who is a school teacher.

Three-year-old Jack suffers from a deadly brain tumor and has only 6-12 months to live. (Pic Courtesy Wesley Lacey/GoFundMe)

The couple took Jack to Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital and doctors found an aggressive tumor inside Jack’s brain. The tumor inside the child’s brain is located in the pons area, a spot that controls sleep and blood pressure.

“Upon arrival at the GP, news went from bad to worse. Jack had a CT Scan and it revealed a large ‘lesion’ and an unknown mass attached to his brain stem/in front of the Cerebellum,” Lacey shared on GoFundMe.

An MRI later confirmed the news. “He’s since had a Biopsy and a Portacath fitted and is currently about to begin Intense Radiation Treatment and Chemotherapy,” Lacey wrote.

CT scan of Jack's brain
Picture of the massive tumor growing in Jack’s brain. (Pic courtesy Wesley Lacey/GoFundMe)

Although the tumor has been growing for many months, the symptoms appeared only in the last four weeks. The child has been given six months to live with his cancerous tumor and 12 months if he responds positively to the treatment. The parents are shocked by how quickly their life has changed.

“In the space of 4 weeks, we noticed, reported, was told his prognosis and now he’s been given a general time! That quick!

“Our Jack, our beautiful little boy has this rare tumour and there’s no chance of operating and treatment will only stall the growth of this Tumour,” Lacey wrote on GoFundMe.

The Sun reported that Jack is currently staying at home with his parents and 2-year-old sister, however, his behavior is changing due to the strong medication.

Tumour patient 3-year-old Jack
Jack with his two-year-old sister. (Pic courtesy Wesley Lacey/GoFundMe)

“His behavior is not what it should be. The other day he croaked to his mum that he will stop wobbling when he walks if he can go home.

“He was always a loving boy but now there have been times where he is absolutely crazy, with shouting and swearing from the drugs he’s been given. The steroids have made him aggressive,” said Lacey.

The couple’s fundraiser on GoFundMe has raised over $37,000 (£28,000) in 10 days.

“Our little boy deserves to spend as many days as he can, enjoying what time he has left and as you can imagine, we all had so many plans. Day trips out, holidays, presents, meals out, the first time to the cinema, a dog. This goes on. We can’t believe we’re even having to think about these things, let alone plan them… The worst of all… his funeral!!!” Lacey said on GoFundMe.

Wesley playing with JAck
A picture shared by Jack’s father Wesley Lacey on GoFundMe. (Wesley Lacey/GoFundMe)