Oliver faces two operations in the next week to treat the "very aggressive" brainstem tumour. / INSTAGRAM / Alejandro Romero

Malaga brain tumour boy faces two operations, the first one this Friday

Surgeons in Barcelona will implant a valve that treats hydrocephalus - an accumulation of liquid inside the cavities of the brain. Then they will operate on the brainstem tumour next week


Two-and-a-half-year-old Oliver who was born in Malaga but moved with his family to Mexico arrived into Spain from Cancún on Wednesday 26 October after a mystery businessman paid for him to be flown in a special medically-equipped plane for an urgent brain tumour operation. Oliver was born in Malaga in 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, but soon afterwards his parents moved to Playa del Carmen in the Yucatán Peninsula to find work.

Now, safely back in Spain, Oliver is now in the hands of the doctors at the prestigious Sant Joan de Déu hospital in Barcelona, a world-leader in paediatric care. The child was admitted and doctors immediately ordered diagnostic tests that are key for the specialists at the Catalan centre to know the exact state of the tumour and how best to treat it. In Cancún, the medics gave the little boy “weeks to live” if they could not remove the tumour.

First surgery on Friday

Hospital sources in Barcelona revealed today (27 October) that, as a result of their tests, the Malaga child will have his first surgery this Friday when they will implant a valve that treats hydrocephalus - an accumulation of liquid inside the cavities of the brain.

The second operation, the most important, will be at the end of next week, when surgeons will try to remove the “very aggressive” brainstem tumour. Once the tumour has been removed, the hospital will decide on the oncological treatment for the young child.

Air ambulance

The long process facing Oliver began last Sunday and it suffered several delays and setbacks. Oliver finally arrived in Barcelona with his German mother, Lena, following the air ambulance flight. Oliver’s father, Alejandro Romero, a diving instructor from Malaga’s El Torcal neighbourhood, had flown the day before on a commercial flight, and Oliver’s uncle David, travelled from Malaga to Barcelona.

Mystery donor

Little is known about the businessman, who lives in Mexico, who paid for the 196,400 euro medical flight. Following an appeal on social media he contacted Oliver’s family and the money arrived hours later. All he asked in return was that he remained anonymous and was given a receipt so he could declare the payment to the tax authorities.