Ringing a bell is usually to gain entry....but for one very courageous three year old it meant...leaving hospital!
For after seven months of care for a brain tumour at Royal Preston, the small boy everyone now knows as Mitchie, was able to ring the hospital’s special and celebratory leaving bell and go home to Longridge with his parents and sister.
The bell’s promise is “Ring this bell, three times well, its toll to clearly say, my treatments done, this is course is run, and I am on my way.”
And so he was on his way, with mum and dad Tara and Tony and sister Zoe, celebrating his recovery from what was first suspected to be an ear infection.
On his day of leaving hospital, Tara told the News “The day went brilliantly!
“Lots of happy tears from us to be leaving and strangely sad tears from the nurses for us leaving them!
“Although Mitchie has now finished his treatment, we await the results of the upcoming tests which include an MRI brain and spine scan and lumbar puncture.
“He will continue his Royal Preston Hospital visits for physiotherapy, hearing, teeth and eye tests and occupational therapy as well as regular dietician, oncology consultant and paediatric doctor meetings.
“All a lot to get through and still a long road ahead of us, but we have Mitch home which was a goal seven months ago to the day.
“Our fund raising efforts continue and we have raised over £30,000 already with more promised.
“An eight-person coast-to-coast ride and a Loch Lomond open-water swim are just some of the things planned for later this month.”
Since that devastating moment doctors told his parents that a suspected ear infection was actually a life-threatening brain tumour, young Mitchell Brown and his family have gained a huge army of support with the fundraising needed to help with the situation.
The Miles for Mitchie campaign has raised money for Cancer Research UK through the many generous efforts of such groups as the Longridge X-Factor, his nursery Little People at the Limes, the Longridge community itself and charity buckets, the LUMPS (Longridge Unaffiliated Mountain and Peregrination Society) and family events such as the one at the Old Oak pub, charity football matches and gigantic swims.
Mitch was a healthy, active young boy until his parents noticed he had become unwell over Christmas and New Year.
But it was on January 3 his parents , took him for a visit to the GP that would turn their lives upside down.
Just 36 hours after leaving his Longridge home, Mitchell had been for scans at Royal Preston Hospital and was going into theatre for an 11-hour operation to remove the tumour on the base of his brain.
“When they draw the curtains around you at the hospital and say, I’m really sorry, it’s not an ear infection. Your son has a brain tumour’ in the blink of an eye, your whole life changes,” insurance broker Tony said at the time.
And of all the fundraising help, he said “It’s humbling to see so many people getting involved and sending such touching messages of support. At first we only wanted to raise a few hundred pounds but it’s gone much further than that and we’re so grateful for everything everyone has done.
It’s humbling to see so many people getting involved.”