Girl, 9, who lost her eyesight to a brain tumour writes a book to encourage people to be more positive – and believes every day is ‘wonderful’ even after 16-hour hospital appointments
- Betsy Griffin, from Chorleywood, wants to inspire people to be more positive
- The inspirational 9-year-old lost her eyesight over a rare optic nerve glioma
- Speaking on This Morning she debuted her positive book Out of the Woods
An inspirational 9-year-old who lost her eyesight to a brain tumour wants to inspire people to be more positive.
Betsy Griffin, from Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, whose debut book Out of the Woods is out now and based on her powerful YouTube videos, joined Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughy on This Morning to talk about her harrowing journey.
Her dad Stuart admitted that despite endless hospital appointments and undergoing chemotherapy always valued each day as ‘wonderful’.
Betsy Griffin, from Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, who lost her eyesight to a brain tumour wants to inspire people to be more positive on This Morning
He said:’ We would leave the home at 6:30 in the morning get to Great Ormond Street, spend all day in hospital being poked and prodded and sometimes it would be 14 or 16 hour days.
‘We wouldn’t get out until 6 o’clock in the evening, we would get into the car delighted to finally be going home and Betsy would be like, “What a wonderful day”.
‘I always found it interesting the way she would frame it compared to how an adult probably would, she just has a positivity about her.’
Betsy said she thinks her positive outlook comes from her grandad as he got ‘shot’ during World War II but has always managed to have a positive outlook.
She said: ‘I sort of get it from my body, if that makes sense? It comes out of nowhere. I also think maybe it comes from my great grandad.
Her dad Stuart admitted that despite endless hospital appointments and undergoing chemotherapy always saw each day as ‘wonderful’ (right)
The 9-year-old whose debut book Out of the Woods is out now and based on her powerful YouTube videos, joined Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughy on This Morning to talk about her harrowing journey
What is Optic Nerve Glioma?
Optic nerve glioma is a slow-growing tumor, which typically affects children
30% of patients have associated NF1 & those have better prognosis
Patients with optic pathway gliomas most frequently present in the first decade with a median age of 6.5 years, with slowly progressive visual loss
Gliomas grow slowly but have the potential to spread into the surrounding tissues, including around the optic nerve, the chiasm, and into the adjacent brain
Treatment is managed by an interdisciplinary team of neuro-ophthalmologists, hematology-oncologists, oculoplastic surgeons, and radiation-oncologists, depending on the case
Surgery and radiation therapy are two possible ways of treating optic nerve glioma
‘He has actually gone through some tough times like me,’ she said, noting her late relatively got ‘shot in the leg’ during World War II.
‘He actually died last year, but not stopping my positivity, he was always positive he never moaned and he was always like me, he liked to do risky things… I think maybe I do share positivity and the bonkers-ness from him.’
During the pandemic, she was inspired to try and lift peoples moods, especially those who lived alone.
Betsy’s YouTube channel, which is called Betsy’s Positive Videos, has more than 4,000 subscribers and follows her positive outlook on her daily activities such as walking, gardening and even after operations from hospital.
She said: ‘In lockdown, when I was six years old I thought you know what so many people are having such a tricky time and I thought some people aren’t even married, but luckily I have a mum and dad and two sisters so I was living with people.
‘Some people are single and they haven’t even got their siblings or friends to pop round so I thought they need to make the world as positive as it can be during this time.’
Betsy, who is donating £1,000 from her book sales to charity for children with cancer, said: ‘Each creature [in the book] has a positive mindset, and there’s several chapters – seven, eight I think – and each chapter is one of my videos.
‘There’s gratitude, there’s being in the moment. I think the Happy Hare in there gives such a positive message from one of my videos.’
Betsy admitted that she thinks people should decide to ‘be in the moment’ rather than over thinking.
Betsy, who is donating £1,000 from her book sales to charity for children with cancer, said ‘each creature in the book has a positive mindset
Betsy said she thinks her positive outlook comes from her grandad as he got ‘shot’ during World War II but has always managed to have a positive outlook
She said: ‘We’re always thinking about the past, we’re thinking, “Oh, I shouldn’t have done that”, and always thinking, “What’s going to happen next?” Just chill out, baby! Just chill out and be in the moment!”
At two years old, Betsy was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable brain tumour called diffuse optic nerve glioma.
She was diagnosed after her family noticed her sight was deteriorating and that she was sleeping more in the daytime.
As well as having to cope with the challenges of being severely visually impaired, Betsy has to take daily hormone replacement medicines for growth, cortisol and thyroid function because the optic nerve glioma damaged her pituitary gland.
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