Fortitude and positivity appear to come naturally to brain tumour sufferer Alice Prior.
Since the age of three, her ambition had always been to work with children.
So when the chance to take up a university offer to study paediatric nursing was suddenly dashed by the diagnosis of the tumour in 2014, the Spalding 25-year-old was determined not to be put off.
“After four years of numerous setbacks, I was told that I was safe to work with children again,” said
Alice, who had used work placements while studying at Spalding High School and college to gain experience, said: “However, due to tiredness, working long shifts in a hospital or nursery was not an option.
“I still wanted to work with children so searched for other options.”
She launched a messy play for toddlers business but that was seriously impacted by the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year.
And because Tiger Tots Messy Play had only started in September 2018, it was not eligible for a support grant from the government. With Universal Credit her only income, Alice bounced back again with another idea – themed messy play fun boxes.
She said: “I know how many benefits children get out of messy play so I wanted to find a way of still enabling them to enjoy those without me being physically with them. I prepare the messy play products and then get them delivered. It’s gone very well.
“I’ve also expanded the business further and now have soft play and inflatables for birthdays, christenings, weddings and any other events that require children’s entertainment.
“From July 1 we’ll be providing those for private garden hire and get back to a full service as soon as the government allows.”
Alice hopes the business will quickly return to its busy status of having birthday bookings most weekends, alongside regular weekly sessions at Holbeach Community Centre (Thursdays, 1pm-3pm), the village hall in West Deeping (Fridays 9.30am-11.30am) and a Spalding venue still to be determined.
Alice is “eternally grateful” for the support she has received from her family, partner Tom and the many parents who choose her services.
These past six years have been a steep learning curve but one which has been rewarding. The brain tumour was spotted after a scary incident alone at home when she passed out and came round three hours later, not knowing what had happened.
The latest scan on the growth showed no noticeable activity and Alice is advised the future looks promising, though she remains on medication to limit severe headaches.
The tumour itself is so central in her skull that to operate or even perform a biopsy has been considered too dangerous.
“If it comes to it, that might change,” said Alice. “But as far as I’m concerned while it’s not causing me any great problems it can stay there!”