Easington Colliery grandad has apple-sized brain tumour removed

Kevin Link-Emery, of Easington Colliery, who had major brain surgery. He is pictured with grandson Finlay Burton, who was put in a freezer bag by doctors after heart surgery.
Kevin Link-Emery, of Easington Colliery, who had major brain surgery. He is pictured with grandson Finlay Burton, who was put in a freezer bag by doctors after heart surgery.
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THE grandad of a miracle baby who was “frozen” as he battled back from heart surgery has himself undergone a life-saving operation.

Kevin Link-Emery endured a nine-and-a-half-hour operation in which part of his skull was replaced with acrylic after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Although the tumour is non-cancerous, Kevin’s devastated family feared the worst as there was a chance that he may not survive the op.

The procedure was risky as the apple-sized tumour, which disformed Kevin’s head, was embedded in a major vein.

Medics have had to leave five per cent of the tumour in his brain, as moving it could further endanger his life.

It also emerged that the 52-year-old may have had the tumour for the past 10 to 15 years, despite Kevin initially being diagnosed with a slipped disc.

But he is now back at home recovering with his loving family.

Kevin is grandad to 18-month-old Finley Burton, who was dubbed “the frozen baby” after undergoing a major op.

At just three-months-old, Finley suffered complications after having surgery for two holes in the heart and a narrowing of a major artery.

Finley hit headlines worldwide after medics took the unusual step of placing him in an inflatable “bag” and chilling him for four days in order for his heart to slow down.

Kevin’s daughter Donna Link-Emery, 28, who is Finley’s mum, described the family’s agonising year.

The Durham County Council worker, who lives with Finley and her partner, Aaron Burton, a 33-year-old Stonham Housing worker in Easington Colliery, said: “I hope this is the end of all our bad news.

“Finley’s operation was on May 1 last year, he left hospital on May 12 and dad started getting his symptoms on June 18.

“We are wiped out with juggling looking after Finley and daily trips to hospital and looking after dad.

“With dad being diagnosed with a slipped disc, we didn’t become overly-concerned.

“But at the end of March, he just deteriorated so quickly.

“He is going to have radiotherapy, but he may never regain full mobility.

“He is still attending hospital sessions for rehabilition and taking a few steps.

“But the main thing is he is home and making good progress.”

Kevin began suffering pains in his leg and developed a dropping of the foot due to nerve damage, and had to wear a splint.

But in April this year, he and his family were left shocked when medics at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, diagnosed a brain tumour.

He underwent life-saving surgery on June 17 and stayed at the hospital as he underwent rehabilitative therapy.

But Kevin suffered a setback when he developed septicaemia and pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital’s high dependency ward.

After two weeks, he was well enough to be taken back to rehab, before being allowed home on August 1.

Kevin’s wife Joan, 53, works for East Durham Homes and staff recently held a fundraising day, which raised £337 for the neurosurgery unit at the hospital in gratitude for Kevin’s care.

Kevin, who works for BHK Flooring in Peterlee, lives in Paradise Crescent, Easington Colliery and is also dad to Sonia, 26. He said: “I am so indebted to the James Cook neurosurgery team and Professor Phil Kane.”