Six-Year-Old Dies of Cancer After Family Spots Unusual Changes in Her Face

A six-year-old girl has died from a rare form of brain cancer after her parents noticed an unusual difference in her face during a family meal.

Acacia Surridge-Hill from the town of Crewe in northwestern England passed away on November 28 this year, Stoke-on-Trent Live reported.

The young child was diagnosed with cancer in September 2020 after her parents spotted something strange on her face.

The family were eating a meal together when the parents noticed that their daughter's eye was almost closed, and her mouth was slanted to one side.

The parents took their child to see a doctor and the six-year-old was initially diagnosed with Bell's Palsy—an unexplained episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis.

But her mother, Carly Surridge, 32, pushed doctors to perform a scan on the six-year-old. When they did, the scan revealed a mass in her brain.

Doctors then conducted further scans and performed an operation before eventually diagnosing the child with a diffuse midline glioma, a rare tumor of the central nervous system (CNS) that begins in the brain or spinal cord.

These tumors are classified as Grade IV, meaning they are malignant, or cancerous, and fast-growing, according to the National Cancer Institute. They can spread to other areas of the CNS and invade nearby tissue.

Symptoms of this type of cancer include double vision, problems swallowing, weakness on one or both sides of the body, and loss of balance.

After being diagnosed with the cancer, Surridge-Hill underwent radiotherapy to slow the tumor's growth, but doctors only gave the child months to live.

Her mother told Stoke-on-Trent Live: "She was diagnosed in September last year and we were told she could have 12 months to live, but that it was more likely to be six to nine months. In the end she lived for 15 months from when she was first ill. She was very brave, very strong and very determined."

In November, doctors told the family that the child likely only had weeks to live and they began preparing for the worst.

"She had lost all mobility and was completely paralyzed," her mother said. "She had a special support chair called a PPod that was like her little throne. She sat in there during the day and slept in our room at night. At the end she was very quiet and sleepy, which felt very strange because she was always like a little whirlwind going 100 miles an hour. She wasn't in any pain and she just went so peacefully."

"She was always a star, shining bright, and she's still doing that now. She was adorable and so friendly. She was a wonderful girl and I am very, very proud of her. I couldn't be more proud. I'm absolutely devastated, but I'm happy that she's not going through this anymore and that she can be free."

A girl in a hospital bed
Stock image showing a girl in a hospital bed. A six-year-old girl has died from a rare form or cancer after her parents noticed some unusual changes in her face. iStock