A BRAVE young boy has overcome his first major battle with a brain tumour.
Bill Symonds underwent seven hours of surgery - just four days after the condition was first diagnosed.
Initial post-op results are positive but the 19-month-old still faces an uncertain future with many more medical appointments to come.
Parents Lee and Kate Symonds first realised that Bill had a problem with his motor skills last Autumn.
Various tests and x-rays culminated with an MRI scan at Birmingham Children's Hospital showing the tumour.
With worlds turned upside down, neurosurgeons warned the Hereford family that, due to the location of the tumour, Bill would be very different to the little boy they then knew before last Wednesday's operation.
All of his functions were at risk and the couple were told the likelihood was high that Bill would undergo a course of chemotherapy after surgery.
But the seemingly endless seven-hour operation ended with the hopes and prayers of thousands answered.
Kate said: "When we went to get him from theatre he looked round into my eyes and croaked 'mummy'.
"Apart from the moment he was born I have never felt such overwhelming relief as when he said my name."
Lee added: "The operation acted as a kind of reboot for his brain so he has to learn how to do everything again.
"It was a bit upsetting to look at him as there were a few tubes coming out of places on his body and a huge bandage on his head but we were over the moon with the outcome. "I almost hugged the neurosurgeon when he told us the news."
Bill underwent a further MRI scan last Friday and it showed that the tumour had gone. Lee and Kate now face an anxious wait to see whether the tumour was cancerous.
Bill's story has captured the hearts and minds of many in Hereford - and many further afield.
Lee and Kate broke the news of the tumour to friends on Facebook and within days thousands sent wishes and organised charity events.
Lee, a nightclub manager at the Jailhouse in Hereford, and Kate, a hotel manager, are both self-employed and unable to claim sick or holiday pay while they support their son in Birmingham.
They were given a room in the Ronald McDonald House, a charity hotel where they can stay for free while Bill is treated in Birmingham.
And many touched by their story decided to raise funds for both Bill and the Ronald McDonald House.
Lee added: "The messages and support we have received is unreal. We have had so many messages from friends, people we have not seen or spoke to for 20 years, and even complete strangers."
Future fundraising events include:
• A charity car wash at Saxon Hall, Hoarwithy Road, Hereford, from 11.30am to 5pm on April 5.
Funded by JP Autoshine, with help from Autoglym and Saxon Hall, the event will also feature face painting and raffles.
To donate prizes, call Jason Preen on 07813 002557.
• Hindbrain, a band consisting of Alex Simons and Liam Lee-Hynes, have released a charity single called Not Alone.
It can be downloaded for £1 from http://hindbrain.bandcamp.com, with money going towards the family.
• All of Steve Harrison’s Hereford pubs and nightclubs are selling jelly shots with all proceeds going to the family.
• A live band, curry and raffle will be held at The Victory in Hereford on April 5. To make your own personal donation, visit http://biggie.ereal.net/bill/