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Hospital baptism for sick Forfar toddler ahead of high-risk surgery

Forfar toddler Kinsley is set to have high-risk brain surgery
Kinsley McMillan, age one, with her cousins Abby Kennedy, eight, and Erin Kennedy age 16

Forfar toddler Kinsley McMillan is to be baptised in hospital on Thursday as she “clings on to life” ahead of major 16-hour surgery the following day.

Kinsley will travel to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh to prepare for her operation on Friday.

She was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour in September 2020, when she was just five months old.

Kinsley is said to be “clinging to life”.

Now 22 months, the Forfar youngster is preparing for the major surgery, which it’s hoped will prolong her life.

Without it, doctors say she may only live for two or three months.

Surgery

She was due to undergo surgery on January 5 but was too poorly for it to go ahead.

The operation was postponed until January 21 but her family say Kinsley is currently desperately ill and is fighting for her life.

The toddler has already had crucial surgeries and gruelling chemotherapy and last January almost died during surgery.

Kinsley will undergo 16 hours of gruelling surgery

She spent another three months in hospital and the tumour has left Kinsley completely blind.

Ahead of Friday’s surgery Kinsley will be baptised in the hospital at 2pm on Thursday.

Fighting for her life

Her gran Karen Kennedy said: “Unfortunately the truth isn’t always beautiful but Kinsley is an unbelievable warrior. She is literally fighting for her life.

“We are aware of how vulnerable Kinsley is currently and with a delay in the operation every minute of every hour is scary.

“Kinsley’s been in pain, losing some ability to function due to the growth of the tumour and the pressures on her brain stem.”

Kinsley with her gran Karen Kennedy.
Kinsley with her gran Karen Kennedy.

She is currently at home in Forfar where she is being monitored and reviewed by her Dundee team of paediatrics staff.

Kinsley’s mum Eden, 21, said: “This is to allow Kinsley to stay at home where it is safest and to avoid catching any bugs in hospital.

“She wants to live, she’s clinging on and we are desperately waiting for Thursday to arrive.

Kinsley with mum Eden.
Kinsley with mum Eden.

“It is truly the worst seeing a baby in pain and being unable to control it for them.

“Friday is the soonest we can get Kinsley’s team together as there will be over 30 medical staff working for up to 16 hours together to coordinate this operation in theatre.

“It’s a huge undertaking for the hospital and obviously little Kinsley.”

The high-risk operation aims to remove 80% of the tumour, called an optic nerve glioma, from Kinsley’s brain.

“I’ve never seen such strength ever in a human being.”

Kinsley’s mum Eden

‘Kinsley is the boss!’

Eden added: “On the flip side of the coin she’s still meeting some targets like the ‘terrible twos’, crying when she drops her iPad, and started nipping her big brother.

“We are so grateful to witness this and no-one disciplines Kinsley – she’s the boss!

“As a family we are living minute to minute right now and we want to let little Kinsley know we are all behind her.

“I’ve never seen such strength ever in a human being.”

Meantime the family are continuing with plans for a charity fundraising event in Kinsley’s name, which people can donate to online.

Last year the family raised £14,000 for Tayside Children with Cancer and Leukaemia (TCCL).

Party in the Park with Hats

This year they are holding Party in the Park with Hats at Forfar Loch on April 16.

Karen said: “We will invite all Kinsley’s followers to join her at Forfar Loch wearing a hat to raise awareness of brain tumours.”

Forfar toddler Kinsley almost died during surgery last year
Kinsley almost died during surgery last year.

Money raised will go to Team Jak Foundation – a Livingston based charity that provides practical, social and emotional support for the families of children with a brain tumour.

Karen said the charity was planning to open an Aberdeen base and money would go towards that.

She said: “If the worst should happen, this will be Kinsley’s legacy. It would be amazing to think that money raised in her name would go to support other suffering families.”

Karen said the day will be family-orientated with lots of children’s activities.

There will also be a presence from Team Jak to raise awareness of the project hub in Aberdeen.

Various local musicians will be playing over the course of the day with Forfar singer That Girl Gail being the headline act.

Related:

New NHS app launches to ease anxiety for Tayside children needing operations

Brain tumour tot Kinsley inspires 12-hour Forfar Loch cycle event past £5,000 mark

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