Mum battles illness to bring her dream play centre to life
MOTHER-OF-ONE Amanda Beech is determined to win her fight against a brain tumour so she can achieve her dream of setting up a children's play centre.
The 44-year-old was told she had a benign tumour on the pituatory gland in her brain earlier this year after becoming increasingly concerned about her deteriorating vision.
Since her diagnosis, Amanda has struggled in her everyday life as she suffers from memory loss, has lost all of her vision in her right eye, most of her vision in the left eye and her energy levels have dropped dramatically.
After having an MRI scan on Thursday she is now waiting for a date to be confirmed for an operation to remove the tumour.
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Amanda, from Craigside, Biddulph, said: "It is tough. It has affected my hormones so much that I find myself crying all the time.
"As far as I know, the MRI scan I had last week was my last one, but after the operation I will have to keep having regular check-ups.
"I am hoping this is the only kind of surgery I will need and that it can be removed and I can start getting my life back on track." Amanda, who is a single parent to three-year-old Caleb, was made redundant from her job as a charity worker in April.
Since then, she has formed the Biddulph Children's Community Group to help oversee plans for the play centre.
She added: "This has been something I have wanted to do for a while and I started looking into the idea last year.
"But after I lost my job, I thought it would be a good chance for me to make some head-way with it.
"But since then, I got my diagnosis so it has been hard to try and deal with everything all at once.
"It is my dream. I want to create an indoor adventure play centre with a resource area and a breast feeding-friendly cafe.
"But it is in its very early stages and it is a massive project."
With the help of her nine-strong committee, Amanda has drawn up plans for the centre, which she believes will be ideally suited to empty land in Shepherd Street, in Biddulph.
It is estimated the land costs £290,000 and a further £60,000 is needed to fund the equipment.
She hopes most of the money will come from grants from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and donations from various fundraising events.
Amanda said: "A couple of friends and I got talking about how there are no facilities in Biddulph and thought that something like this would be ideal.
"We want to make the centre sustainable as a business."
Family and friends are also busy supporting the fund-raising efforts and have described Amanda as an inspiration.
Her mother, Kath Wilshaw, aged 67, who lives round the corner from Amanda, said: "Amanda is just amazing.
"She loves Biddulph and wanted to set up this play centre for children in the town.
"We take Caleb to play centres in Tunstall and Congleton. She said she really wanted one nearer here.
"She has also started a craft group and we are making things we can sell at craft fairs. It's to raise funds for the centre.
"With her health, she has good days and bad days.
"I do think trying to get the play centre has helped Amanda to have something else to focus on."