Girl with brain cancer painted radiotherapy mask 'to give her superpowers'

Eight-year-old Aurora Farren was diagnosed with cancer after developing an 'unquenchable thirst'.

Scots child cancer patient painted radiotherapy mask like favourite superhero to give her ‘superpowers’ Cancer Research UK

A schoolgirl who battled brain cancer painted her radiotherapy mask like her favourite superhero to “give her superhero powers“.

Eight-year-old Aurora Farren was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2022 after her parents grew concerned when she developed an unquenchable thirst, was passing urine more often than normal and had stopped growing.

Aurora was first diagnosed with a rare condition known as diabetes insipidus which can be caused by a number of things including a brain tumour.

Following lumbar puncture tests, she was diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumour, which is situated at the base of the brain.

The eight-year-old underwent a treatment plan which included four rounds of chemotherapy in Aberdeen, each lasting five days as well as four blood transfusions.

Aurora underwent gruelling chemotherapy while battling cancerCancer Research UK

Mum Jenna Farren praised Aurora’s doctors in Aberdeen saying that oncologist, Dr Fiona Herd, and paediatric consultant Dr Craig Oxley were “the best people to have on our side and we will always be grateful to them”.

The 34-year-old also credited her daughter for helping the family get through the treatment, adding: “Aurora helped get us through it. Even on her eighth birthday she just lay on the hospital bed and put up with it. There was no fuss.”

In June 2023, the family travelled to Manchester where Aurora started proton beam therapy at The Christie, home to the first high energy proton beam therapy centre in the UK.

Her six-week proton beam therapy saw the youngster fitted with a mask to ensure the correct part of her head was targeted during the radiotherapy.

Aurora Farren, eight, wearing the radiotherapy mask she painted like the Marvel character Venom.Supplied

To help get her through the gruelling treatments, Aurora chose to paint the fierce Marvel cartoon character Venom onto the mask which she wore for each session to “give her superhero powers”.

“Nothing prepares you for seeing the proton beam therapy machine,” Ms Farren recalls.

“It’s like something from a sci-fi movie. Aurora wore the mesh mask she’d painted and had to lie completely still for 20 minutes during each of the 30 rounds of treatment. Once again, Aurora took it all in her stride,” Ms Farren said.

The superhero returned home to Scotland in August after ringing the bell at the Manchester hospital and was cheered on by doctors and nurses to mark the end of her treatment.

Weeks later at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Aurora also took part in a bell ringing ceremony.

Aurora rang the bell to signal the end of treatment with her parents and little sister by her side. Cancer Research UK

The youngster is now back at Fyvie Primary School and clear of cancer but continues to have nightly injections to help her grow as her pituitary gland doesn’t produce hormones naturally.

Following her cancer battle, the young superhero will sound the horn to start this year’s Race for Life Aberdeen at Beach Esplanade on June 30.

She’ll be joined by her proud parents, Jenna and David as well as her sister Ada, six.

Ms Farren, who will be taking part in the event, said she will be “proud” to cross the finish line for her daughter.

“Words can’t express how much we love Aurora and how grateful we are to still have her with us,” she said.

“From being told she had cancer to spending her birthday in the high dependency unit to losing her beautiful red hair and spending weeks upon weeks far away from home, Aurora has been a shining star. Why do I race for life? I’ll be proud to cross the finish line at Race for Life for Aurora this year.”

Cancer survivor Aurora Farren, eight, hugs her mum Jenna Farren, 34.Supplied

The Race for Life events run across Scotland every year with thousands of people taking part to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

More than ten million people have taken part since the events started in 1994, and they have become one of the UK’s biggest fundraising events, raising around £33m in last year.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman in Scotland, expressed her gratitude to Aurora and the family for their support.

“No matter how cancer affects us, life is worth racing for. Sadly nearly one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime. Race for Life has the power not only to transform lives, but to save them. We’re proud that Race for Life has already helped double survival rates in the UK.  

“We’d love for as many people as possible across Scotland to join us at Race for Life. There is an event for everyone and we mean everyone,” Ms Adams added.

“Walk, jog, run or take on the course however it suits best. It’s a chance to feel the power of moving together with fellow Race for Lifers and to treasure that moment of crossing the finish line.

“Whether people are living with cancer, are taking part in honour of or in memory of a loved one with the disease, or are in it for the medals or just for the fun of fundraising, there is a place for everyone.” 

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code