PLAYING happily with her toddler son Taylor, young mum Donna McWhinnie beams with joy.

But behind the smiles, this inspirational mum has been undergoing treatment after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Just five months ago Donna McWhinnie discovered that – despite suffering no symptoms – a large tumour had been growing on her brain for 10 years.

It was only when the 25-year-old suffered a seizure, during which her quick-thinking friend took life- saving action, that the glioma tumour was found by doctors.

At 10 cm by 5cm it was half the size of her brain.

And despite her diagnosis, she has now launched a bid to help other sufferers.

Donna, who is mum to 19-month-old son Taylor, has amazed her friends and family with her resolve in the face of serious illness and gruelling treatment.

She said she refuses to let the tumour stop her from living her life and has focused her efforts on raising money for other sufferers – hoping to gather £5000 by organising a charity fundraiser.

Donna, a hair-dresser who has run her own salon Dee-Zignz in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, since she was 19, said: "Life is what you make it. If I lie down and let this tumour beat me then it will.

"I am determined not to let that happen."

The young mum had never suffered any serious health problems before she fell ill suddenly on February 24.

Donna, who lives in Coltness, just outside Wishaw, said: "I had been staying at my friends pub in Falkirk and I woke up the next morning feeling unwell but thought it might just be a hangover.

"I was numb all down my right side. Someone handed me a can of Irn Bru – I was holding it but I couldn't feel it in my hand."

Donna felt sick in the bathroom then collapsed in a fit.

She said: "I hit my head on the bath but thankfully my friend Pamela Inglis was there.

"She saved my life."

Pamela, 25, who now lives with Donna, raised the alarm and put her friend in the recovery position. She said: "It was really scary but I knew Donna needed me so I stayed really calm."

Donna was rushed to hospital in Larbert where she suffered two further seizures before being transferred to Edinburgh for an MRI scan which confirmed the tumour on the left side of her brain.

She said: "It is a glioma tumour which is slow growing and is grade two on a scale of one to four - four being the worst.

"It is inside my skull and is 10cm by 5cm - half the size of my head – and doctors say I have had it for at least 10 years.

"They couldn't believe that I have had no symptoms. I have been through childbirth but felt nothing in my head."

Donna added: "The part of my brain affected is the area associated with emotions.

"I am not an emotional person and I never cry. So that makes a bit of sense."

Donna underwent a biopsy and then radiotherapy at the Beatson Cancer Centre, in Glasgow, which she attended five days a week for six weeks.

As a result she lost her hair which she said she struggled to cope with.

HER mum Lesley took her for treatment because the tumour has caused epilepsy which left Donna unable to drive.

Lesley said: "Nobody could fill Donna's shoes – I don't know where she gets the strength.

"When she was going to the Beatson the nurses would ask 'how are you, today?' and Donna would reply 'Fine, how are you?'

Donna said she is determined to keep her spirits up for the sake of her wee boy and added: "Taylor has no idea – he keeps me going.

"A lot of people don't know what has happened but I don't want any sympathy vote, I just want to carry on with my life."

Donna said her family – including dad Tom and sister Lisa Neilson, 30 – have been a tower of strength.

She is now waiting to find out the results of her radio-therapy treatment which it is hoped has brought the tumour under control.

She added: "I don't know what the future holds.

"I have been told that it could flare up again in the next 10 to 20 years and I could need chemotherapy.

"But I don't want to know when that might happen and I am not waiting around for it."

Donna – who is not working at her salon right now although it remains open, has plans expand her skills to work with cancer sufferers who need wigs.

She will also host a fundraising night in Wishaw on August 24 to raise money for the Beatson and Help for Heads brain cancer charity.

It is being held in Rivals Gyms in Roberts Street, Wishaw, from 7pm to late and there will be a raffle and entertainment.

l To buy tickets or donate prizes or money, visit Dee-Zignz salon on Stewarton Street, Wishaw.