A heartbroken mum who’s been given the crushing news her son won’t make it past his first birthday is now trying to raise funds to ensure he has a special day.
Jacob Mortimer, who is yet to turn one, was diagnosed with brain tumour in February and mum Andrea Mortimer, 41, was in May told it was terminal.
She recalled feeling stunned as she received the diagnosis and asked doctors if Jacob would make it to Christmas. They shook their heads and said he only had a “few months” left to live.
Andrea is now crowdfunding to make “a few final special memories” with her cancer-stricken baby boy, who turns one on July 29.
Since falling ill, the little lad’s world has turned upside down, spending weeks on end in hospital and undergoing exhausting chemotherapy.
Andrea said: “I was hoping Jacob would survive until Christmas but the doctors said there was no chance so we’re focussing on his birthday.
“We want to raise a bit of money so that we can have a really special day and then maybe take Jacob on some days out too.
“There isn’t long left now so we need to make the most of every day we have together.”
Andrea, from Penrith, Cumbria, added: “The whole ordeal has been heart-breaking but Jacob has been a little warrior the whole time.
“I want to make a few final special memories with him before he goes.”
Andrea, who has four other children, said her youngest Jacob was “healthy and happy” for the first six months of his life after being born in July 2020.
She added: “He was just like any other baby, a little bundle of joy.”
Andrea first sought medical help on February 3 this year after Jacob began vomiting a lot and stopped eating his food.
She said a doctor quickly identified swelling in Jacob’s head and sent him for an ultrasound, which revealed fluid on the brain.
Within hours the baby began fitting and he was rushed from Cumbria to Newcastle A&E, where he had an external drain put in to reduce the fluid.
Andrea said when she went in to see her lad he had “wires and tubes everywhere around his little body.”
On February 9, Andrea and her husband David Mortimer, 44, were told Jacob had a type of tumour that begins in the brain or spinal cord called an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour (ATRT).
Andrea said: “It was heart-breaking to hear the diagnosis, my world imploded. I just thought ‘why us?’”
“All my thoughts went to Jacob and what we could do to help him.”
Jacob underwent an operation to try and reduce the growth two days later, paving the way for him to start two rounds of chemo.
However, by mid-March more fluid was identified on his brain and Jacob was rushed back into theatre to have a shunt fitted.
Andrea said after that the chemo was “going well” and that she was “hopeful” Jacob would be okay.
However, an MRI on May 28 showed the tumour had started growing again and doctors told Andrea the earth-shattering news her son was terminal.
She said: “I just sat there and stared into space.
“I asked if he had until Christmas and they shook their heads, then if he would make it until his birthday and they told me ‘a few months’.
“I was in shock.”
Jacob is now back at home with mum Andrea and dad David, both of whom have children from previous relationships.
Andrea said: “We’re trying to enjoy the time we have together.
“At the moment, we are just trying to live normal lives. I get up and feed and bathe Jacob, just normal things a mum would do.
“But hopefully if we raise some money we can make some special memories together.
“We’d love to have a big party around his birthday at the end of the month and get lots of family here.