Suffolk parents keen to raise awareness of rare childhood eye cancer
PUBLISHED: 14:06 15 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:06 15 July 2018
The parents of a Suffolk toddler who had to have one of his eyes removed after developing a rare form of childhood cancer are striving to raise awareness of the condition.
Parents Michaela Poll and Aron Moyes, both 27, who live in Redgrave, near Walsham-le-Willows, say they want to help others after discovering their 21-month-old son Johnny had retinoblastoma – cancer of the eye.
The condition affects young children, usually under the age of five, and 50-60 cases are diagnosed in the UK every year - approximately one child a week.
The parents first realised something could be wrong in March after Aron changed the light bulbs in their home to LED lights, and they noticed a glimmer in Johnny’s eye.
Thinking it could be a cataract, Michaela took the toddler to the opticians, who quickly referred him to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.
From there, he was sent straight to the Royal London Hospital for scans and tests, and a large tumour was discovered.
The only option was to remove his right eye and since then Johnny has had his first artificial eye fitted and is due to have a new one put in next week.
Michaela said: “As parents we had never heard of it, which is why we really want to raise awareness.
“It was only when Aron changed the light bulbs that we noticed the glimmer in Johnny’s eye and took him to the opticians. We thought it was a cataract.
“He’s been absolutely amazing through it all. It was quite a shock to us but he’s just such a happy little boy and has just got on with everything. He’s incredible.”
Signs and symptoms of retinoblastoma include an unusual white reflection in the pupil – this may be apparent in photos where only the healthy eye appears red from the flash – a squint, a change in the colour of the iris, a red or inflamed eye, or poor vision.
Early diagnosis is vital as retinoblastoma can often be successfully treated, with survival rates of more than 95% if detected early.
The parents are also looking to raise money for charity through a family fun day at Rickinghall Village Hall on Saturday, July 21, from 11am-4pm.
Money raised will go to the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) and Bart’s Charity, which supports the Retinoblastoma ward at the Royal London Hospital.
“They’ve been so incredible these past few months,” Michaela added. “We want to get the news out about this rare cancer so people can be more prepared if it happens to their family.”