Eye cancer survivor dedicated to help find cause of rare disease
PUBLISHED: 10:16 03 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:26 03 January 2019
A young Suffolk woman is embarking on a fundraising drive to help support the doctors who removed her eye after they discovered a rare form of cancer.
Ella Wolff was innocently enjoying a holiday in Cape Verde in September last year when she noticed something was wrong with her sight.
She was walking back to her hotel room when her vision in her right eye blurred and she quickly realised that it was deteriorating.
Miss Wolff, 23, and partner Calum Smith flew home to Ashbocking and by the time she was referred to a specialist, half her vision was completely gone.
Miss Wolff said: “It happened very quickly, I thought it could be dehydration but the doctors ran an ultrasound and found the tumour in my eye.
“The only good news was that the growth was confined to my eye so I was scheduled for surgery as soon as possible to stop it spreading to anywhere else in my body.”
Cancers of the eye make up less than 1% of all cases in the UK, with a very low prevention rate - just 2% - and are typically not caused by lifestyle factors, according to Cancer Research UK.
In November, Miss Wolff had her right eye removed at Moorfields Private Eye Hospital and is now waiting for a precise prosthetic eye - made to match the colour and shape of her remaining eye - in 2019.
A remarkable recovery period and all-clear diagnosis saw her return to work in December 2018 and she is now planning a string of fundraising events to support research into the cancer.
Miss Wolff said: “I want to make sure all the money I raise goes directly to funding the work of Professor Sagoo - he works with the Moorfields Eye Charity and wants to find out what causes this cancer.
“If ocular cancer spreads it most likely spreads to the liver - but know one knows why at this stage.
“We have a lot of questions and not a lot of answers and I would like to help any way I can.”
In 2019, Miss Wolff plans to take on a sponsored skydive and a charity ball in order to support the research of the team at Moorfields.
Friends and family have already raised over £1,500 from a freezing cold dip in the sea on Boxing Day.
She added: “I’m alive and well and that’s all I can ask for, but it’s all thanks to the work of the doctors at Moorfields.”