Student, 20, who was hours from death because of huge brain tumour is saved by ride on a ROLLERCOASTERTumour diagnosed when she was 12 – after it had grown to size of satsumaShe had been to Thorpe Park in Surrey the weekend beforeHanging upside down caused fluid on her brain to spread out, easing the pressure that could have killed herDoctors thought surgery might leave her in a vegetative stateShe had to relearn how to walk, talk and eat

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UPDATED:

00:43 GMT, 7 June 2012

Hours from death with a brain tumour, Emma Bassett went on a rollercoaster ride – and it saved her life.

The schoolgirl had no idea of the danger she was in when she visited a theme park days before a hospital appointment to discover why she was suffering bad headaches and dizziness.

But when she finally saw the doctors, they told her she had a tumour so big it had stopped vital fluid moving around her brain. The rollercoaster had relieved the build up of pressure by briefly redistributing this liquid.

Survivor: Emma Bassett was hours from death when she was diagnosed with a huge brain tumour at 12 - but has now made an incredible recovery

Survivor: Emma Bassett was hours from death when she was diagnosed with a huge brain tumour at 12 – but has now made an incredible recovery

This had bought her precious extra
days, and she was able to undergo an operation the next day. Even so,
doctors warned her that this could leave her in a vegetative state.

But eight years on, Miss Bassett has stunned them all by making a complete recovery.

She has learned to walk and talk all
over again, and is about to begin a career as a primary school teacher.
Miss Bassett was 12 when she started to feel unwell and was referred to
hospital for tests.

The weekend before the appointment,
her mother Gina took her and a group of friends to Thorpe Park, where
she rode on the Nemesis Inferno rollercoaster.

Life-threatening surgery: Doctors at St George's Hospital in Tooting told Emma's parents the tumour had been growing in her brain since she was five

Life-threatening surgery: Doctors at St George's Hospital in Tooting told Emma's parents the tumour had been growing in her brain since she was five

At the time she had a satsuma-sized
tumour blocking the flow of cerebrospinal liquid in her brain. Doctors
later said the tumour had been growing since she was six and she had
just hours to live when she went on the ride.

Miss Bassett, now 20, from Twickenham
in west London, said: 'It was such a shock to discover I'd had this
tumour growing inside me, probably for years, without me knowing
anything about it.

Brain scan: The tumour has grown to the size of a satsuma - and was so advanced that young Emma was just hours from death

Brain scan: The tumour has grown to the size of a satsuma – and was so advanced that young Emma was just hours from death

'The doctors told my parents that I
would need 24-hour care, because the tumour was wrapped about my brain
stem, and the surgeons thought removing it would cause irreparable
damage.

'After the operation, I couldn't walk,
talk, or even feed myself. But I was determined I'd walk again and beat
the tumour. It has taken years of hard work, but now, I'm finally able
to do the things I've always wanted to and live the life I've always
wanted to lead. At my latest scan, there was no sign of the tumour
returning, so it's great news.'

Miss Bassett has had numerous
operations over the past eight years, spending a year with her leg in a
splint, then two years walking with a crutch.

 Emma in St Georges Hospital, Tooting

Emma's head

Long journey: Miss Bassett had to relearn how to walk, talk and eat after the surgery – which doctors feared could leave her in a vegetative state

 Emma today

Emma close-up

Lucky to be alive: Miss Bassett is now training to be a primary school teacher and campaigning to raise awareness about the early signs of brain tumours

The Nemesis Inferno at Thorpe Park, which Emma rode and which may have saved her life

The Nemesis Inferno at Thorpe Park, which Emma rode and which may have saved her life

She then had to have
special soles put into her shoes to support her walking. But now the
only sign of the tumour is a slight paralysis on the left side of her
face.

She said: 'I have had so much
hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy to get me where I am
today. The doctors thought I might make slight improvements after my
operation, but they have since told me they never expected me to come
anywhere near as far as I have.'

Miss Bassett has now teamed up with
the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust to champion their HeadSmart
campaign, which aims to raise awareness of how to spot the early signs
of a brain tumour.

HeadSmart is a project which aims to enhance the awareness of brain tumours in children, to reduce the time it takes for a diagnosis to be made.