The video that ‘diagnosed’ a toddler with a brain tumour

Toddler’s cricked neck turned out to be a sign of a BRAIN TUMOUR that doctors only spotted when her mother showed them a clip of her walking with her head tilted to one side

  • Mother Kay Parsons was told Ryleigh Godfrey was sleeping awkwardly 
  • Filmed Ryleigh walking to demonstrate she was holding her head to the right 
  • Ryleigh was diagnosed with a grade three aggressive brain tumour last June 

A toddler was diagnosed with a brain tumour after her mother showed doctors footage of the youngster walking with her head at a ‘funny’ angle.

Ryleigh Godfrey’s mother Kay Parsons was told her daughter’s cricked neck was caused by her sleeping awkwardly.

Sensing something was seriously wrong, the 31-year-old filmed Ryleigh walking to demonstrate how the youngster was holding her head to the right.

With doctors finally realising how severe the situation was, Ryleigh was eventually diagnosed with a grade-three brain tumour last June. 

The youngster, of Somerset, was forced to ensure 13 brain surgeries, as well as radiotherapy and chemo, which caused her to lose her hair.

After overcoming the grueling treatment, Ryleigh’s five-year-old brother Dominic rang the ‘end of chemo bell’ on her behalf on May 25. 

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Ryleigh Godfrey was diagnosed with a brain tumour after her mother showed doctors a video of her daughter holding her head at an odd angle (pictured left). The now-three-year-old is pictured right in hospital, where she endured chemo, radiotherapy and 13 brain surgeries

Mother Kay Parsons (pictured with Ryleigh and her five-year-old son Dominic) knew something was wrong, but doctors dismissed her daughter’s cricked neck as sleeping awkwardly

Speaking of her daughter’s symptoms, Ms Parsons said: ‘I first realised something was wrong when we noticed her head was tilting to one side. 

‘We’d watch her on video, looking back at photos and we could see she was holding her neck funny.

‘It was constant and, at first, everyone suspected it was because she had slept at an odd angle, even doctors.

‘It was when it had been like that longer than a week I knew it wasn’t from sleeping.’ 

Ryleigh then started to vomit every night at the same time, like clockwork, but only threw up once at a time.  

After Ms Parsons showed doctors the footage, the youngster was finally referred for an MRI scan.  

The stay-at-home mother, who is not with her children’s 27-year-old father Lee, said: ‘That was when our world was shattered.’

‘There are no words to describe how it feels to be told your little girl has a brain tumour.’

Pictured left is a still from the video Ms Parsons filmed to show doctors Ryleigh was holding her head ‘funny’. Ryleigh’s brother Dominic (pictured together right with their mother and father Lee) rang the ‘end of chemotherapy bell’ on his sister’s behalf on May 25

Ryleigh (pictured recently on the left with her mother) is home but requires further radiotherapy to prevent her tumour growing. Pictured right in hospital, she also endured brain shunts, which relieve pressure on the vital organ that is caused by fluid accumulation

Ryleigh’s brother Dominic (pictured together) supported her throughout her treatment


Brain tumours at the back of the head can affect how a patient holds their neck.

The neck may be stiff and the sufferer may struggle to turn it.

The patient may also develop a head tilt, where they hold their head or neck at an awkward angle.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Persistent headache
  • Poor balance or co-ordination
  • Persistent or recurring vomiting
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Blurred vision or poor sight
  • Change in behaviour
  • Seizures 

Source: Headsmart 

Ryleigh’s tumour had grown into her brain stem, which made it difficult for surgeons to reach.

She was therefore referred to a hospital in Bristol, where doctors combined radiotherapy, chemo and 13 surgeries to try and beat her disease.

‘Ryleigh’s first operation lasted 20 hours despite us being told to expect the surgery to last between eight to 12 hours,’ Ms Parsons said.

‘It seemed like a lifetime and her dad Lee and I were so scared.’

The youngster also endured brain shunts, which relieve pressure on the vital organ that is caused by fluid accumulation. 

Ryleigh has finished chemo and was able to celebrate her third birthday at home, however, the ordeal is far from over.

‘Her latest operation has really affected her, and she now struggles to walk and can just about manage a few steps holding onto her dolly’s little pushchair,’ Ms Parsons said. 

Before being diagnosed, Ryleigh would dress up and dance around with her head tilted (left). She is pictured right shortly after doctors discovered the youngster was battling a tumour

Now home, the ‘adorable’ siblings have an ‘unbreakable bond’ and love playing together

Ryleigh tumour could not be removed, however, a scan in January revealed it is stable and not growing. 

Although good news, the ordeal is far from over.  

‘The tumour requires more treatment she can’t have any more radiotherapy until October and that seems so far away with something as aggressive as this,’ Ms Parsons said. 

Radiotherapy is sometimes given after a person has battled cancer to prevent the disease coming back.

In the meantime, Ryleigh is enjoying being at home with her brother.  

‘She got to spend time with Dominic – he simply adores her,’ Ms Parsons said.

‘He’s too young to really understand what is going on but he knows his sister has a lump in her head and if anything the bond between them is stronger now.  

‘Their bond is unbreakable – they’re adorable together.’

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