Sam Stainer with his mother, Sandra, in Christchurch
Hospital after having emergency surgery last week to remove
a large tumour from his brain. Photo supplied.
Children across the world are beginning to drive their
parents a little crazy by constantly asking what they are
getting for Christmas this year.
But Sam Stainer's parents are quietly pleased at his
persistent questioning because it shows he is a little
curious and excited about Christmas - it is a good sign.
The 7-year-old had major surgery last Friday to remove an
orange-sized tumour from his cerebellum - a region of the
brain at the base of the skull which is important for its
role in motor control.
It took surgeons at Christchurch Hospital seven hours to
Fortunately, cerebellar damage does not cause paralysis, but
it can produce disorders in fine movement, equilibrium,
posture, and motor learning.
So for now, all Sam and his family can do is wait, his
mother, Sandra, said.
''He's awake, but he's very confused. One eye won't open.
''He's dizzy and vomiting at the moment, but that's not
expected to last, long term.
''If I could take the pain away for him, I would.''
Miss Stainer said the only consolation was that Sam kept
asking what he was getting for Christmas, which showed he was
aware of his surroundings and looking forward to the day.
She said the past two years had been very difficult for the
Sam had suffered severe migraines, dizziness, double vision,
his eyes squinted, and he vomited a lot - all of which
eventually led to the diagnosis of a brain tumour.
On top of that, Sam's 15-month-old brother, Jayden, has had
problems with ear infections and recently had to have
grommets put in.
''It's a parent's worst nightmare. We've had a pretty rough
''One minute I'm OK, the next I'm just a mess. We're just
taking it one tiny step at a time.''
St Clair School principal Richard Newton said the diagnosis
last week came as quite a shock to the school as well.
He said everyone at school was aware of the pressure the turn
of events had placed on Sam's family, and the disruption it
had created in relation to family living expenses and work
The school held a fundraising appeal on Monday in which
families made donations to support Sam and his family.
A sausage sizzle fundraiser will also be held in the Octagon
on Friday from 5pm onwards.
While Sam's long-term prognosis was not fully known yet, Miss
Stainer hoped biopsies of the tumour would come back benign
so he could be transferred to Dunedin Hospital before
Christmas for ongoing treatment.
Having the results return benign would be the greatest
Christmas present ever, she said.