When Arya met Santa: Family and friends bring Christmas forward for brave Grangemouth brain tumour tot

Christmas came to Grangemouth this month to give a special little girl some festive fun and her family an unforgettable memory with her that money just could not buy.
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In a matter of days little Arya Tripney went from being the bubbly pride and joy of parents Lisa and Jordan, to a hospital patient who could only have a matter of months left to live.

In the aftermath of the two-year-old being diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour, shocked friends, work colleagues, community groups and local businesses helped raise an amazing amount of money – which now tops £51,000 – in a short period of time.

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While the money will be a tremendous support to Arya and her family at this time, it was something cash could not buy which joiner Ross Wilson wanted to provide for the wee girl while she was still well enough to enjoy it.

Falkirk Round Table brought Christmas to little Arya Tripney in the middle of March(Picture: Michael Gillen, National World)Falkirk Round Table brought Christmas to little Arya Tripney in the middle of March(Picture: Michael Gillen, National World)
Falkirk Round Table brought Christmas to little Arya Tripney in the middle of March(Picture: Michael Gillen, National World)

The Falkirk Round Table member now lives in Cowie but originally comes from Grangemouth and knows Arya’s gran Michaela Tripney.

Ross said: “I heard about Arya and found out I was actually working with her uncle. I was chatting to him and asked him what the situation was.”

The picture painted for Ross, who works for Serco at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, was a particularly stark and bleak one – with her condition having such an impact on the wee one her family feared she might not see this Christmas.

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“I had a wee think about that,” said Ross. “I told her uncle I know it sounds like a daft idea, but what if we bring Christmas to Arya just now instead of her having to wait for it to happen.”

Time to get in Santa's sleigh.Time to get in Santa's sleigh.
Time to get in Santa's sleigh.

Arya’s family thought it was a great idea and Ross, through his connections with Falkirk Round Table, set about organising a visit from Santa to Arya’s house.

Ross said: “It was a chance for the family to enjoy Christmas with Arya and for her and her brother, sister and cousin to get presents. It was something they could all share and take pictures to remember the moment.

"It was an experience you couldn’t buy with money.”

Just a few weeks earlier Arya’s mum and dad, Lisa, 38, and Jordan, 33, were hit by a sledgehammer blow their wee girl was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).

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A very rare brain tumour, it occurs in an area of the brain stem called the pons, which controls many of the body's most vital functions such as breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate.

The brave little toddler was only given months to live and the family immediately began reaching out to surgeons in the USA and elsewhere for a medical miracle.

At the time Ayra’s gran Michaela said: “The future is very uncertain for Arya. We could be looking at six months because it’s a very aggressive tumour."

While the family are still hoping some form of treatment can be found, Michaela said they were now looking to “make memories” with Arya for whatever time remains.

Ross and the folks at Falkirk Round Table certainly accomplished that feat by bringing a little Christmas magic in the month of March.

People can visit the Just Giving site to donate to the cause.

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