STANDING just a stone’s throw from Musgrove, it’s no surprise that staff, pupils and their families at Parkfield Primary School have a special love for the hospital.

Many were born there or have had family cared for or working at Musgrove - everyone has their own experience and stories.

But none more so than 10-year-old William Appleton, who has just finished year 5.

William, who lives in Taunton with mum Janine, dad James and little brother Rhys, was just four-months-old when it was discovered he had what was believed to be a benign brain tumour.

A year later he had his first operation where a biopsy revealed that the tumour was in fact cancerous and William was diagnosed with a high grade glioma – an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Janine Appleton said: “You can’t really describe it.

“William started having what was thought to be apnoeic attacks when he was a couple of months old where he would stop breathing, but we then found out it was fits caused by a tumour.

“We had to go to the Bristol Children’s Hospital for an MRI because there wasn’t space at Musgrove and they told us he had a benign tumour.

“Nothing really prepares you for that news.”

When he was 13 months, William had two major surgical operations and had to have chemotherapy to treat the remaining growth because of its proximity to blood vessels.

At 19 months, William had his third surgery and then underwent radiotherapy until he was 22 months old.

He then had five years free of tumours but, at one of his regular six-monthly MRI check-ups at Musgrove, doctors discovered there was a new, different type of tumour.

William had to have a functional MRI, which monitors how the brain is being used; to determine what implications there would be if he had further treatment.

He then had his fourth surgery to remove the new tumour.

Janine added: “He’s tumour-free at the moment and has MRI scans every six months for check-ups.

“William is completely unfazed by it all and takes it all in his stride whenever we have to go.

“Being able to have these scans here at Musgrove is so important because it saves us time and money as a family and means William only misses half a day of school when he has his scans and not a full day.

“The staff at Musgrove are fantastic and we can’t thank them enough for all they do so we really would encourage everyone to donate to the appeal.”

And William and his friends couldn’t agree more.

So, when their class was set a task to pick a charity to help fund-raise for, it didn’t take them long to choose Love Musgrove.

Catherine Rust, William’s year 5 teacher at Parkfield Primary School, said: “I set the children a homework task to research local charities so we could pick one to do a project on and fund-raise for.

“They came back with more than 50 different charities and, with a little help from me, the children narrowed it down to six charities and from that we chose Love Musgrove.

“Lots of parents work at Musgrove and a lot of the children have family who have been treated there and who have had to use the MRI so they were very keen to support Love Musgrove in the MRI appeal.

“As a school, we all know what William has been through; he has a very supportive group of friends and they were really keen to support the hospital.”

As well as holding a spring ball which raised £1,877.84 towards the appeal, William and his friends Miles, Nelson and Liana, along with Ms Rust, were also picked to appear in a #MyMRI video to share their experiences and encourage others to donate.

William said: “I have to use the MRI scanner at Musgrove every six months and it’s really important because it helps to keep me alive and to look for anymore brain tumours.

“It’s quite a noisy machine but I’m used to it by now so I’m not scared when I have to go there.

“It has a DVD player which is really cool but I never get to finish watching a DVD because I’m never in there long enough.

“I think everyone should help fundraiser for a new scanner because it means that more people can use it and not have to wait for a long time or have to go to another hospital and hopefully it means more people can be saved.”

Zoe Steer, head of fundraising at Love Musgrove, added: “We’re so grateful to everyone at Parkfield Primary School for their support particular the children who encouraged all their friends and family to donate.

“Likewise, we are incredibly grateful to the local community for their continued support.

“The current two MRI scanners are working at full capacity and that’s why it’s vital we have a third to help reduce waiting times and allow diagnosis for a number of conditions including heart conditions, cancers and brain injuries.

“We’re now at £900,000 and so close to our target so please help us to make it to £1million by donating.”

You can watch more of the children’s stories in the MRI video – just search Love Musgrove’s MRI campaign video, MyMRI Million.

Donations can be made via the donation form featured right.

You can also call the fundraising team on 01823 344437 or log on to the Love Musgrove website - - and donate to the linked Just Giving page.