Odette's story

Odette in hospital 1

Posted on: 20 Sep 2023

Odette Derry was diagnosed with a brain tumour in February 2022, when she was just three years old.

Odette, now aged four, has undergone surgery 17 times, and spent seven months as an inpatient at Nottingham Children’s Hospital. Her parents, Sophie and Tom, have spent weeks in hospital with her, away from normal family life.

Mum Sophie said: “Odette received incredible care from the staff on ward E40 during her time in hospital. You are thrust into this unknown world that you really don’t want to be part of, but the staff do everything they can to make a horrendous situation bearable. The capabilities of the surgical team are mind blowing, and the nursing staff are angels in uniform!

“You see the same faces day in, day out, and they start to feel like family. They see you at your darkest moments, and are always there to support. Nothing was ever too much trouble, and Odette loved everyone. From the play workers, to the rehab team, to the cleaners, everyone was wonderful.”

Odette’s brain tumour was first discovered after she complained of headaches and the family’s GP suggested taking her for an eye test, which identified some swelling. She was sent straight to A and E for a CT scan, which confirmed the tumour.

She underwent nine-hour brain surgery at Nottingham Children’s Hospital on 22nd February 2022 – coincidentally, in theatre number 22. The initial surgery was a success, but subsequent complications have resulted in a further 16 surgeries.

Odette lies in a hospital bed. She is asleep and is cuddling a soft toy.

Odette in hospital

Odette is now doing well, and mum Sophie said: “After a frightening and lengthy time in hospital, we’re thrilled to say that she’s doing really well at the moment, and she’s slowly starting to transition back to her wonderful pre-school. She sometimes struggles with fatigue, but we know this is par for the course after all she has been through. She’s such a little fighter and we are in awe of how she’s handled such a traumatic time.”

Sophie and husband Tom ran five marathons in five days earlier this year, to raise money for the Big Appeal for Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

Sophie said: “We wanted to do something to express our gratitude to those who cared so well for Odette. We knew that we wanted to do some sort of long-distance running challenge, and that it had to be significant to Odette in some way.

“We decided to run from the hospital that she was born in, Chelsea and Westminster in London, to the hospital where she received her lifesaving treatments.”

Odette sits in the playroom at Nottingham Children's Hospital. She is smiling at the camera.

Odette is now doing well


Keep up to date

Sign up to our newsletter to keep in the loop about fundraisers, stories, news and more from Nottingham Hospitals Charity.

Subscribe to our email