Three weeks ago, ten month old Ayana Catanitoiv underwent an urgent operation to remove her cancerous eye. Last week she was back at The Royal London Hospital with the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, the charity which has supported her parents during their recent traumatic weeks, to accept a donation from high street optician Vision Express.
Joy Felgate, Chief Executive at The Childhood Eye Cancer Trust said, "We are all extremely grateful for the commitment of Vision Express staff in helping us to raise awareness of eye cancer in children which is so devastating to those families affected. This generous donation will enable us to continue to support those families and will also enable us to fund vital research into the condition."
Ayana's mother, Oana Visan said, "When our baby daughter was diagnosed we felt very alone and frightened for her future, but after reading stories on the CHECT website and speaking to their support worker, I knew we were not alone and realised there is life after cancer. It is so good to know the charity has such great support from someone like Vision Express to help fund their great work."
Three trips to her GP failed to spot the condition known as Retinoblastoma, but once under the care of specialists at The Royal London Hospital, Ayana quickly received the treatment she urgently needed. Throughout this ordeal, her parents have been supported by Chect, who help to provide valuable support to parents during this worrying time.
The money raised by Vision Express staff and customers during 2012 totalled £45,500.76 and came from fundraising events such as the Robin Hood Half Marathon, a swim down the River Dart, Liverpool store's 10th birthday celebrations and culminated in an employee's trek to Everest Base Camp at Christmas.
Jonathan Lawson, CEO at Vision Express commented, "I hope this contribution goes someway to providing vital research and support to those families affected by Retinoblastoma. Vision Express will continue to help Chect raise awareness of this childhood cancer and urge all parents to bring their children into store for regular eye tests. It is recommended that children are seen annually for an examination that is paid for by the NHS. Of course, if there are any reasons for parental concern, please come immediately."
Rachel Broquard, Principal Associate at global law firm Eversheds has recently joint The Childhood Eye Trust as a Trustee, she said, "We really value the support that Vision Express is bringing to CHECT and the board is delighted with the way the relationship is developing. It was also an opportunity for me, as a new trustee, to visit the Royal London Hospital and to meet the staff who are providing support to children affected by retinoblastoma and their families. I've found that being a trustee is a very rewarding experience, allowing me to use my skills in a new area and develop other skills, as well as being an opportunity to meet new people from different walks of life - I would really encourage anyone to consider becoming a charity trustee."
Paralympian Darren Harris, who had bilateral retinoblastoma as a child, said: "The support CHECT receives from Vision Express will make a huge difference to families affected by Rb. CHECT has gone from strength to strength since it offered invaluable help to my own family many years ago and it is so rewarding to now be a part of the amazing work they do."
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