Suffolk youngster who lost right eye to cancer receives bravery award
- Credit: VICTORIA WATERS
A young girl from Grundisburgh is being rewarded for her outstanding bravery after losing an eye to cancer.
Four-year-old Penny Waters, who lives with her family in the small Suffolk village near Woodbridge, was struck down by an extremely rare form of eye cancer shortly after her third birthday in 2016.
After a routine eye test flagged up problems with her vision aged two, Penny’s family arranged a check-up to monitor the situation.
However, when her vision began to deteriorate even further, Penny was referred to Ipswich Hospital where new tests revealed she had a rare form of cancer known as retinoblastoma in her right eye.
The disease, which mainly affects children under six years old, had spread to such an extent that Penny’s eye had to be removed in order to save her life.
She has now been fitted with an artificial eye and continues to undergo check-ups every six months at The Royal London Hospital to ensure that the cancer has not returned.
In recognition of her outstanding effort and bravery, Penny has been named a CHECT Champion by the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) – an award that aims to recognise the courage, resilience and patience shown by children affected by retinoblastoma.
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Penny’s mother, Victoria, said her daughter had coped extremely well with the ordeal – returning to school just two weeks after her operation.
“The amazing thing was how Penny took everything in her stride,” she said.
“The next day she was up and playing.
“Within a couple of weeks she was back at school and looking forward to resuming all the activities she loves so much such as swimming.
“She even tells all her friends about her ‘special eye’. We’re so proud of her.”
The good news is that Penny, who attends Grundisburgh Primary School, required no chemotherapy or further treatment following the operation to remove her eye.
Patrick Tonks, chief executive of CHECT, said: “Every child affected by retinoblastoma faces huge disruption, upset and distressing treatment not to mention follow-on check-ups.
“We are delighted to recognise the courage, resilience and resourcefulness shown by Penny throughout her treatment. She really is a thoroughly deserving champion.”