AT JUST 13 years old, the idea of brain surgery was terrifying to Leah Robinson.
The East Hagbourne teenager, a pupil at King Alfred’s, Wantage, went under the knife at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital on March 14 to treat a chiari malformation, a condition which means her brain is too large for her skull.
Her condition was picked up after she had a fit last summer and an MRI scan eventually diagnosed the problem.
But after a two-hour operation, six days in hospital and a month recovering, the youngster is hoping to return to school next month.
To say thank you to the team who treated her, led by neurosurgeon Shailendra Magdum, Leah organised a cake sale with her brother and sister, Nate and Alicia, and raised £160 for the department.
She said: “When I first got told what I had, I didn’t want to have an operation at first, but I knew that surgery was the best option.
“I was scared, but afterwards I felt relieved because it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”
When Leah was only 14 months old, she suffered a fit and ended up in intensive care.
At the time doctors believed it was a one-off, and it was not until more than a decade later the problem resurfaced.
Mum Claire Maynard said she was impressed with the way her daughter had dealt with the surgery.
She said: “It was a big shock, but you pull together really as a family.
“She has been excellent, there hasn’t been any tears or panic.
“I don’t think I could have been like that if it was myself.”
It was Leah and sister Alicia, 10, who came up with the idea of a cake sale to raise money, baking most of the cakes themselves.
Ms Maynard said: “They wanted to do something after spending time in the hospital, seeing other people and what they have to go through.
“It’s also a thank you for the kindness that you receive from the people there.
“They did it all off their own backs, I am really proud.”
The family were alerted to Leah’s fit last summer because she fell out of bed.
Had she been alone or not discovered more quickly, the repercussions could have been more serious.
Ms Maynard said: “All sorts of things go through your mind and you think the worst.
“But I’m glad it did happen and we know what the problem is now and it’s finally hopefully sorted out.”