Charlie’s challenge

Charlie enjoying a carousel ride

Sarah Powell’s life came to a standstill when her daughter Charlotte was diagnosed with a brain tumour at just four years old.

Charlotte, more fondly known as ‘Charlie’, had been sick for six weeks before doctors finally figured out what was wrong late last year.

A precautionary MRI scan after Christmas revealed a ‘mandarin sized tumour’ in Charlie’s brain — the following day she was in surgery.

“The doctors literally pulled us into a room after the MRI and said they would be performing surgery. The next morning they took out the tumour and the surgeon seemed pleased with the result, and we were told if we’d waited another week we would have lost her,” said Sarah.

Initially the Powells were told it was an ATRT tumour which was an aggressive form requiring intense radiation and chemotherapy, but because of the poor prognosis, doctors sent the tumour to the United States for a second opinion.

While awaiting the outcome, the family embarked on achieving a bucket list of activities including a horse trek at Baylys Beach and visiting Auckland Zoo.

Although the prognosis looks a bit more positive now, she says the family is in a state of flux as they await further results and Charlie’s treatment plan and finds the whole ordeal frustrating.

“One minute we are told Charlie has six months to live, now it is two months after her surgery and we still don’t know what’s happening. During the diagnosis process, she spent many weeks in hospital enduring blood tests, scans and other scary procedures for a little girl — it was a tough time for the whole family.”

They have been overwhelmed by the support of the local community so far and have started a Givealittle page to help raise funds for the six-hour return trip to Auckland’s Starship Hospital.

To donate to Charlie’s Givealittle page visit


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