Routine Eye Test Uncovers Life-Threatening Brain Tumor in Six-Year-Old Girl, Saving Her Life

…By Alan Peterson for TDPel Media. The parents of a six-year-old girl express their gratitude to Specsavers for detecting a brain tumor during a routine eye test, ultimately saving their daughter’s life.


Tanisha Castello, a stay-at-home mom, took her five-year-old daughter, Sofia, for an eye test at Specsavers Warren Heath after she became unwell.

During the examination, an optician noticed something unusual and advised Tanisha to take Sofia to Ipswich Hospital.

Following scans at the hospital, Tanisha and her partner Gareth Kidd-Stanton, a postman, received the devastating news that their little girl had a brain tumor.


Sofia’s Operation and Remarkable Recovery

With no alternative but to proceed with surgery, Sofia underwent a six-hour operation six days later to remove the tumor, which doctors estimated had been growing for a year.

Now six years old, Sofia has fully recovered, and her parents credit Specsavers Warren Heath for saving her life.

Tanisha, who has three children, including Sofia, expressed her gratitude to the Specsavers team and the medical staff at Ipswich Hospital and Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Sofia’s resilience throughout the process has amazed her parents and medical professionals, who have commended the speed of her recovery.

Recognizing the Symptoms and Seeking Medical Help

Tanisha initially attributed Sofia’s complaints of headaches to the hot weather.


However, during the routine eye test, it became evident that something serious was wrong, leading to her diagnosis and life-saving intervention.

Two days after Sofia was sent home from school due to a headache and sickness, Tanisha took her for the scheduled eye appointment.

Within the first 10 minutes of the examination, a senior optometrist took over and used a retinal camera to assess Sofia’s condition.

Alarmed by the results, Tanisha and Gareth were urged to immediately take Sofia to the hospital.

Hospital Visits and Critical Surgery

Upon arriving at Ipswich Hospital, Sofia underwent a CT scan that confirmed the presence of a brain tumor.


The news shattered the family, and Tanisha described the subsequent events as a blur.

While Sofia was transported to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, Tanisha accompanied her, while Gareth went home to attend to their other children and gather their belongings.

At Addenbrooke’s, Sofia underwent an MRI scan, which confirmed that surgery was the only viable option for removing the tumor.

The medical professionals estimated that the tumor had been growing for a year and acknowledged that catching it at that time was crucial in preventing a fatal outcome.

Sofia’s Brave Battle and Return to Normalcy

On July 22, 2022, Sofia underwent a six-hour operation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, during which surgeons successfully removed the tumor from the base of her head.


Although Sofia was upset about her canceled birthday party, she showed remarkable courage throughout the process.

Tanisha and Gareth found it challenging to navigate the ordeal, but Sofia’s recovery in intensive care brought them immense relief.

Surgeons had successfully removed the entire tumor, and subsequent tests confirmed that it was non-cancerous.

Despite a five-inch scar at the back of her head, Sofia has made significant progress and is enjoying a normal childhood, participating in activities such as gymnastics.

A Debt of Gratitude to Specsavers Warren Heath

Sofia’s parents express their deep appreciation to Specsavers Warren Heath, acknowledging their instrumental role in identifying the tumor and taking swift action.


The optometrist director, Ayanna Cooper, highlights the importance of regular eye tests and the use of retinal cameras in detecting various eye conditions at an early stage.

The remarkable recovery of Sofia serves as a powerful reminder for everyone to prioritize regular eye health checks, as eye tests go beyond determining the need for glasses.


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