December 9 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, November 2, 2013
A Norwich model and entrepreneur has revealed how she has been diagnosed with a brain tumour after she was rushed into hospital with suspected meningitis.
While Kerri Parker now faces an anxious wait to find out what her prognosis is, she says the chance discovery of the 4cm tumour by a neurologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital could end up saving her life.
Miss Parker, who runs her own Model Academy, one of the UK’s biggest model training schools, had been due to celebrate her 30th birthday in Las Vegas, but instead has rapidly organised a fund-raising ball in Norwich to raise money for Cancer Research.
The former Dereham Neatherd High School and City College Norwich student has jetted around the world on modelling and acting assignments and had only just returned from Egypt when she ended up being rushed into hospital. She said: “I have been feeling unwell for about a year and have been getting worse and worse. When I got back from Egypt this week I had a really bad headache and was feeling sick. I couldn’t look at bright lights and on Tuesday, I ended up being rushed into A&E at the N&N where everyone thought it was meningitis.
“They did a CT scan which showed a mass but they thought that was something to do with the meningitis. They then did a lumbar puncture which came back saying it was meningitis.
“But then Will Brown, one of the neurologists on Dunston Ward, did something with my arm and picked up that it might be something else. They did an MRI scan and it came back showing it was a tumour.
“They took me into a room and told me I didn’t have meningitis, but that I did have a tumour. I had known something was wrong for a long time, which I think is why I haven’t cried yet.
“They say it’s a low grade astrocytoma. It’s on my frontal lobe and is 4cm in size, but the consultant said it would have got to the size of an orange before I’d have noticed any symptoms.
“He found it by chance and that might end up saving my life. I’ll be going to Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge for a biopsy and we are waiting for a letter about that.
“He said people often call him names when he tells them, or they deny it, but I just comforted my mum because she was devastated. What else can I do? I am just glad he found it.”
Miss Parker, who lives in Riverside in Norwich, has had to cancel her birthday trip to the USA, but has been rapidly organising a combined birthday/fund-raising ball instead.
It will take place at The Oaklands Hotel in Yarmouth Road from 7pm tomorrow night, with donations and a raffle to raise money for Cancer Research.
Miss Parker said: “I decided to organise something for my birthday which would also raise money for Cancer Research. I don’t know if the tumour is cancerous yet, but my nan died from cancer and I wanted to do something positive.
“We have had so many raffle prizes and support from local businesses. And I have had such lovely messages of support from my friends, including from the Playboy Mansion.
“There have been messages of support on Facebook from people telling me that I’m inspiring them by not letting this get me down.
“I am in a position where, thanks to all the entrepreneurial work I have done, I have got the financial security to get through this.
“I don’t know what sort of treatment I’m going to need or how long it will take, but I will keep fighting. The girls who have come up through the Model Academy have always seen me being strong and I need to keep strong to be a role model to them.”
Anyone who wants to go to Kerri’s fund-raising ball should email her mum Kathleen on email@example.com
And anyone who wants to help her raise money for Cancer Research UK, click here.