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Brave 24-year-old Kelly Will of Ipswich vows to live each day to the full as she faces crucial brain surgery

PUBLISHED: 11:00 12 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:18 12 December 2014

Kelly Will

Kelly Will

Archant

A young woman has vowed to live each day to the full as she prepares for a 10-hour operation to remove a brain aneurysm.

Kelly Will and friends have shaved their heads for charity ahead of Kelly's brain surgery. Pictured at The Dove Street Inn in Ipswich. L-R: Kelly Will, Nigel Smith, Rev Andrew Dotchin, Bernie Howlett and Johnathan Dotchin.Kelly Will and friends have shaved their heads for charity ahead of Kelly's brain surgery. Pictured at The Dove Street Inn in Ipswich. L-R: Kelly Will, Nigel Smith, Rev Andrew Dotchin, Bernie Howlett and Johnathan Dotchin.

Kelly Will, of Franciscan Way, Ipswich, was diagnosed with the condition after suffering from headaches and migraines since her early teens with no medication curing her pain.

“Over the past year I had a non-stop headache, every couple of months I had a migraine so would be off work, when the headaches settled that’s when I started pushing for answers,” the 24-year-old said.

In November, she was seen at Botesdale Surgery in Diss and immediately referred to a neurologist who diagnosed her with a brain tumour.

She added: “I started to doubt if I was imagining it, and when I finally knew it was real it was such a relief. I spent weeks feeling angry that it took so long. I’ve been through all the emotions; the night I found out I got very drunk.”

Kelly Will pictured at The Dove Street Inn in Ipswich, where she is a barmaidKelly Will pictured at The Dove Street Inn in Ipswich, where she is a barmaid

But on December 4, Kelly learned her diagnosis was wrong and that in fact she has a brain aneurysm – the biggest the doctor had ever seen – which was described as the size of a “Jaffa orange”.

“I’ve been high risk for years of it rupturing – if I get upset or worked up it could pop and kill me on the spot and so I have to stay positive,” Kelly said. “It’s not a choice I have to get on with it.”

Kelly, who is studying for a masters degree in arts at University Campus Suffolk, inherited the disorder from her grandfather who died aged 60.

Kelly was admitted to the neuro critical care unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, on Tuesday where she prepared herself for a 10-hour operation to remove the aneurysm.

After a day of waiting she was told the surgery would be postponed for a week due to an audit in the theatre.

She said: “It’s a good thing, it means I have a week to spend catching up with friends and family that I wouldn’t usually get.”

Unlike most cases, the blood vessels are running through the aneurysm, which means it cannot be removed without huge risks.

The surgeon plans to use a vein from Kelly’s leg to create a bypass around the aneurysm. The procedure holds a 25-40% risk rate.

Last Sunday, Kelly shaved her hair off at The Mulberry Tree pub along with friends Nigel Smith, Johnathan Dotchin and Andrew Dotchin.

In just a week, she has raised £2,000 for the critical care unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Rev Andrew Dotchin, of Whitton, St Mary and St Botolph, Ipswich, said: “One reason why I shaved my hair is so I can tell Kelly’s story more easily.

“It is part of what we need to do for our friends at these times, we can try and stand next to them and that’s what friendship is all about.”

Kelly, who is a barmaid at the Dove Street Inn, said her greatest motivations for staying strong were her niece Isabella and nephew Ethan.

She added: “My three-year-old nephew wants to shave his head as well to look like his auntie Kelly – he knows I have a poorly head so I said he can draw on it to make it better.”

Kelly, who will spend Christmas Day in hospital recovering from surgery, said: “I haven’t consciously set out to be positive but I guess it must just be my defence mechanism.

“I don’t know if I’m going to come through this but I have to make the most of what I have and live each day to the full.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/Kelly-Will to donate.

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