Hastings mum's 14,000ft skydive for charity that supported her through six-year-old daughter's brain surgery

A mother-of-four from Hastings is braving a 14,000ft skydive to raise money for a charity that supported her when her daughter underwent surgery to remove a satsuma-sized brain tumour.

Vicky Rowley, 36, is taking part in the fundraiser on Saturday (July 13) at Headcorn Skydive Centre in Kent in aid of Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, which also supported her when her son was born with multiple medical conditions.

The charity provides free ‘home away from home’ accommodation and support for families with children in hospital.

In November 2018, Vicky’s daughter Lillie, who was six at the time, started to experience constant headaches and blurred vision. She was referred her to hospital for an MRI scan.

Vicky said: “That same night we were transferred by ambulance and after tests the following day I was told that Lillie had a large brain tumour, but they wouldn’t know how serious it was until they operated. It was an emotional whirlwind.”

Luckily, doctors confirmed Lillie’s brain tumour was benign.

She said: “It wasn’t long into our hospital stay that we were told about the nearby accommodation provided by Ronald McDonald House Charities UK. I had never heard of the charity before or what they do, but when I was given a bedroom at the Camberwell House, I just couldn’t believe that this amazing place existed to help families like mine, allowing me to be close to my child in hospital, day and night.

“The staff were simply incredible and empathetic. They went above and beyond for me during the week I stayed and without their support, I honestly don’t know how I would have coped.”

Lillie, 12, is now ‘thriving’ without any further complications after her brain tumour.

In 2022, Vicky, who is also mum to Oliver, 18, and Luke, six, became pregnant with her fourth child and during her 20-week scan was told that her baby Harry would be born a rare medical condition known as VACTERL.

VACTERL is an acronym that stands for the parts of the body the condition affects, including the vertebrae, anus, heart, trachea, oesophagus, kidney and limbs.

Vicky said: “When I found about Harry’s condition, I was told so many different things that could be wrong when he was to be born. They said he might not be born breathing, he might not cry or be able to be placed on me when he was born, he could have extra limbs or be born with limbs missing. It was so scary to think about.”

Harry was born on March 11 last year, by emergency C-section.

He required specialist treatments and surgery on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, and Ronald McDonald House Charities UK was able to provide Vicky and her family with accommodation and support again, this time at their Evelina London House.

Harry is now doing well and hitting expected milestones, while living with scoliosis and having regular check-ups for his heart issues.

To donate to Vicky’s fundraiser, visit www.justgiving.com/page/vicky-rowley-1712338530779.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.