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Watch NZH Local Focus: Hopes brain surgery will be life changing for girl

By Sieska Verdonk

While her classmates are adventuring in the playground, 11 year old Renee Eager, is adventuring across the world for life changing surgery.

"We are going to America to get my brain working, inside my head," she explains.

Renee was born with a brain tumour in a region of her brain that regulates many of the body's systems.

"Renee was born with a hypothalamic hamartoma, which is a brain tumour, a very rare brain tumour. When she was diagnosed 11 years ago not much was known about them. And we didn't have many symptoms associated with it until she hit school age," says her mother Alison Eager.

Renee suffers from seizures, fits of rage and other behavioural problems. However, there is now some hope.

The Ministry of Health has agreed to fund the operation travel costs for Renee and one caregiver. They're booked on a flight to Texas next week. However the family is fundraising so all of them can go.

"You can have a day where she's very easy to manage and you can have another day where she is very very difficult to manage and tiredness is a real factor too so I can't do it on my own," Alison Eager says.

Renee has undergone surgery before in Auckland - and was in hospital longer than expected.

"She was meant to recover in two weeks, but the surgery took its toll. She took 3 days to wake up from the operation. And then she had to learn to walk and talk again," Ms Eager says.

Her twin, Hollie, says she has a special bond with her sister and can manage her on even her most difficult days.

"Sometimes she only listens to me. Like, if I say something she'll listen, or if i tell her I'm going to tell her something she will stop and listen," Hollie says.

"Hopefully Renee will be different and she will be more normal."

The family have set up a "Give A Little" page to help with costs.

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