(Image/ Gemma Capewell)

A mother from Hucknall has spoken of the “life-changing challenges” her four-year-old son, Taylan, will face after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Gemma Capewell, 32, said the news came “out of nowhere” after taking Taylan to Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham in June of 2020 to try and find out what was causing her son severe seizures.

“The doctors asked us to come in for an MRI to try and find out what was causing Taylan’s seizures and I was told it was precautionary,” Gemma said.

“We ended up being in there [the hospital] for two and a half hours and I knew, as a mother, that something was wrong.”

Watch: Taylan’s Story

Gemma’s fears were realised when news came of a tumour on the brain but she was desperate to keep calm, despite the trying circumstances.

“Because of Covid restrictions, I was there on my own,” she says.

“I didn’t cry or scream, I had to carry on looking happy to make sure Taylan didn’t panic.”

(Image/ Saffron Dhillon) Taylan and Gemma have a very affectionate bond

Doctors told Gemma the tumour does not need to be operated on immediately as going through healthy brain tissue to try to remove it is “incredibly risky.”

For Taylan and his mum, the plan now is to try and manage his seizures as much as possible so that he is able to continue his love of dancing and playing football.

“He is honestly the sweetest little boy in the world – everyone who meets him instantly falls in love with him”


On average, there are around 16,000 people diagnosed with brain tumours every year in the UK and Susan Castle-Smith, who works for the Brain Tumour Research Charity, has warned of the long-term risks attached to improper funding around brain tumour research.

“Well, very sadly, brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 48 than any other form of cancer,” she says.

“However, just 1% of the national spending [around cancer research] has been allocated to this deadly disease.”

Listen: Susan Castle-Smith on the Brain Tumour Research 26 mile fundraiser in May 

Castle-Smith has welcomed new proposals signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson which will see an increased level of funding for research and says the extra money can go a long way to levelling the playing field for resources into specific cancers.

“Other forms of cancer such as leukaemia and breast cancer now have fantastic prognosis and outcomes,” Castle-Smith says.

“Sadly, this is not the case for brain tumours and the fact is that something like 12% of children survives a brain tumour diagnosis longer than five years.”

Taylan and Gemma are taking part in the Brain Tumour Research charity’s 26 mile run during May and they have already raised over £1,200.

“We are going to try and make it as fun as possible for Taylan and will walk as much of it as possible for my own sake,” Gemma joked.

Despite “not being a runner”, Gemma is hoping that completing the 26 miles will help raise money to prevent other children from having to suffer the same fate that Taylan has.

For Gemma, her main wish is that her son keeps his indomitable spirit.

“He is honestly the sweetest little boy in the world – he’s such a character and everyone who meets him instantly falls in love with him.”