Skip to main content Skip to site footer

CUCF Name December Community Champion

16 February 2023

Congratulations to Lauren Baker, CUCF’s Community Champion for December

Lauren, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in June 2017 and although it was operated on, they were unable to remove the tumour. Following this, she experiences regular seizures and has been diagnosed with epilepsy. Lauren has spent a lot of time in hospital since 2017 but that has not stopped her from playing football and watching her beloved Colchester United. CUCF think Lauren is an inspiration and a very deserving champion.

CUCF spoke to Lauren, to find out about her story, please see her words below:

“I was diagnosed with a brain tumour in June 2017 when I was 12 after having seizures in the middle of the night which led to me being taken to hospital. I was transferred to Addenbrookes hospital after my diagnosis and was there for just under a week where they’d scheduled surgery to take it out. I had the surgery on the 6th of July however we were told that unfortunately they weren’t able to take all of the tumour due to it being actual brain tissue. This means that I still have some of it left as it could only be partially resected. As a result of this I wasn’t able to participate in exercise or football for months in order to protect my head whilst it healed from what had happened. However, my grandad had surprised me with my first ever season ticket at Colchester United I was delighted!

I then returned back to school for the start of year 8 on reduced timetable after not being able to go in for the last two months of year 7. Grandad and I attended every home game and started going to away games too. Unfortunately, in year 8 I was bullied and picked on because of not having proper hair on the front of my head of the left side and my weight due to my medications making me put on quite a bit of weight. During the summer holidays I had started to have my medications reduced after being seizure free and I lost weight; I also attended a Colchester United tournament day where I was then offered a trial with the girls development centre. I was then accepted into the academy and played for the girl’s development centre from year 9 until year 11.

In year 9, I went back to exercising regularly, my hair had grown back long enough to style into a bob so I cut my hair. I had friends again and playing football again. Grandad and I started going to even more away games that season which we both really enjoyed! However, in the summer I ended up having my appendix out where I then had a call from my neurologist and found out that my tumour had grown slightly. I had also found out that I wouldn’t be able to drive due to myself not having any peripheral vision too. It was upsetting however I never let it stop me. After my stomach had healed, I returned to football. I joined a new Sunday league side too so I was playing 4 times a week. We carried on religiously following the U’s until COVID hit.

In year 11 the night after fans were allowed back into the ground for the first time since COVID I was admitted into hospital again following an episode of seizures where I was diagnosed with epilepsy. This wasn’t going to stop me playing football either I continued playing and was offered a spot at a football academy college to study at after my exams. It was an incredible experience to play at a semi-professional level for the first time last year playing the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham girls. However, I unfortunately then suffered a knee injury which saw me out for the rest of the season. It also affected my ability to watch the U’s as I couldn’t go to away games but I managed to get to Hartlepool last season for the last game it was an incredible day!

A week after the away game vs Stockport in August last year, I was admitted into hospital after severe headaches, absences and not being able to walk properly or feel my legs. I stayed there for over a week and since then I have been in a wheelchair due to not being able to walk very far. I can only walk on crutches or with an aid for short distances. I also have not been able to complete tasks such as tying my own shoes or any fine motor skill movements with my hands. However, I’m hoping to start rehabilitation soon and do everything I can to get back to following the boys again on the road. 

Colchester United means the absolute world to me it is a safe space for me and place I call home. I will always have a place in my heart for the club, it has helped me through some hard times and so have some of the players which another reason why the club is so meaningful to me”.

We are touched by Lauren's story as we are sure that you are too.  Incredibly, Lauren told us about her fundraising efforts, which we also commend her for,

"In 2018 I raised £900 for Brainbow who are the children's rehabilitation  team whose aim is to help children with brain tumours reach their full potential.  In 2019 I was a finalist in the Colchester Youth Awards and in 2021 I won the best in women's football content creator award."

Lauren will be at Colchester United’s fixture vs Walsall on Tuesday night, please give her the reception she deserves.

If you know anyone who you feel should be a community champion, please email with details about the person and how we can get in contact.

Advertisement block