A Rose Green family would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who saved the life of a teenager.
The Challen family – Paul, Katrina, Graham and Kristi – want to pass on their gratitude to everyone who has supported them over the past two years.
Graham Challen, 19, is now recovering after treatment for a benign brain tumour.
Mrs Challen said: “We all just want to say a huge thank you.
“But how do you do it?
“How do you thank the people who saved your son’s life?
“And how do you thank the people who have supported you through one of the worse things imaginable?
“The kindness we have been shown is incredible.”
Graham started to feel unwell in October 2009 but, as it was just before his 18th birthday and he was studying for his A-levels and taking driving lessons, doctors thought it was because of stress.
“When the doctors said it was stress and anxiety we believed them,” said Mrs Challen.
In February 2010 doctors told the family they thought Graham had oesophagitis – an inflammation of the oesophagus.
Then, in April, Graham mentioned he was occasionally getting a popping in his ear which began to be continual after an unrelated knee operation later in the month.
Graham had this checked at Grove House Surgery where the doctor booked an MRI scan at St Richard’s Hospital, where doctors then found the tumour.
Graham was taken to Southampton General Hospital where he underwent his first operation on June 15, 2010.
Mr and Mrs Challen said: “Southampton General Hospital have been absolutely superb throughout everything and we cannot ever thank them enough.”
During the long operation Graham went into distress and his heart stopped three times. This meant the operation had to be stopped after only two-thirds of the tumour had been removed.
Graham then underwent a second operation on September 8 this year, when the rest of the tumour was successfully removed.
Mr Challen said: “We know we are really lucky to have come through this.
“It could have been a lot worse and we are just so grateful to everyone.”
Graham is now recovering well and will hopefully resume studying ICT at Chichester College in October.
He said he would like to raise awareness for the condition.
“There are not a lot of people my age who have gone through something like this,” he said.