The dad of a seven-year-old Wishaw girl has spoken out at his heartache after she was given less than a year to live.

Laia Jenkins was on top of the world when she celebrated her birthday on September 6 – but just three days later she had taken a turn for the worst. 

She had lost her sense of balance and was struggling to walk properly. Her worried parents - Lee and Lorna - rushed her to Wishaw General where they were told it was likely just an ear infection. 

They returned home, hoping their concerns were nothing. But as her condition deteriorated, Laia was taken to her GP where alarm bells were ringing.

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She was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where they were dealt the devastating news she had a brain tumour.

Speaking to the Evening Times, 43-year-old Lee said: “You just don’t expect it.

“At first it was just a brain tumour and you assume the worst-case scenario but hope there is some way you can help.

“It’s very difficult. I’ve went through anger, panic and hopelessness. Just hopelessness.”

After an MRI, it was discovered little Laia had Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) – a rare tumour that has an average survival time of nine months from diagnosis. 

HeraldScotland:

“We were told there was nothing we can do – that really was the worst-case scenario.

 “I broke down, it was devastating. But you go into another mode – you need to make her as happy as possible, so you need to make things seem normal.

“She’s only seven-years-old. She’s just my little baby. 

“But kids just get on with it. I’m terrified to tell her every next bit of treatment, but she just takes it on the chin.

“She’s aware that she has a lump in her head, but she thinks she’s going to get better. 

“She was looking at old pictures and saying how she wants to go back to school - she wants to be normal again.”

HeraldScotland: Laia with dad Lee, mum Lorna and sister EllieLaia with dad Lee, mum Lorna and sister Ellie

But the reality is that Laia will likely not live to see her next birthday.

Instead, her family and friends want to make her remaining months as special as they can.

Around £2000 has been donated so far on an online fundraiser to “help complete Laia’s bucket list” - which includes a trip to Disney World and riding a pony.

Lee added: “The next thing will be radiotherapy, she’s going in on October 2nd for Monday-Friday treatment for six weeks. 

“The doctors say because of the type of tumour, treatment might shrink it and it may appear like her symptoms are not bad, maybe even disappear.

HeraldScotland: Adorable Laia JenkinsAdorable Laia Jenkins

“It’s hopefully at that point we can give her the best time while she is still with us.”

Laia has three siblings – 12-year old Ellie, 21-year-old Chloe and Shannon, 23.

They are all “putting on a brave face”, but dad Lee knows the situation is causing them a lot of distress.

The fundraiser was set up by a family friend, with more than 100 people parting with their cash in just a few days.

HeraldScotland: Laia with her sister EllieLaia with her sister Ellie

The devastated dad continued: “I asked Laia what the one thing was she really wanted to do or visit and the first thing she said was America – I think she wants to go to Disney World. 

“So hopefully money can be put towards things like that if they can.

“But we are also still exploring any possible treatment or research - because there’s no treatment on the NHS – so if the money is needed for that then the fundraiser will be used that way.

“It’s really great what people are doing – she’s been getting lots of presents and she’s doing really well.”

You can view the fundraiser here.