Knaresborough child cancer survivor is guest of honour as Wetherby optician celebrates its new premises
A young eye cancer survivor from Knaresborough was guest of honour at the Vision Express Wetherby store as it unveiled its new premises in Market Place (29 November 2016).
As an ambassador the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), Hollie Atkinson, aged 12, joined the team to perform a ribbon cutting, officially declaring the new store open.
A nominated charity of Vision Express, CHECT raises awareness of a rare form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma, also known as Rb. Around 50 to 60 cases of Rb are diagnosed each year and while 90% of those diagnosed will survive, they may face having an eye removed.
Hollie was diagnosed with retinoblastoma just before her third birthday. She underwent lifesaving surgery to remove one of her eyes and now wears an artificial eye.
Hollie and her mum, Bev Barker, were welcomed into the Vision Express Wetherby store by store manager Sarah Mills, who has 16 years’ experience serving the local community. Previously, Sarah and the rest of the Wetherby team have fundraised for CHECT with a coffee and cake day at the store, and Sarah has also personally raised money for the charity running in the Wetherby 10k and The Great North Run.
Here at the store, we think it’s really important to raise awareness of such a rare disease as retinoblastoma so it was great to have Hollie here at the store in her role as CHECT ambassador.
“We had a great day celebrating the new store and it was a privilege to welcome Hollie to cut the ribbon with us. Our team has over 57 years’ experience in optics and it’s fantastic to continue to offer local residents a thorough and individual vision care service from our new premises.
Vision Express has enjoyed a partnership with the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) since 2010, using initiatives to raise awareness and drive donations for the charity, so they can help more families affected.
It was the first optician in the UK to roll out a protocol to ensure a quick and effective referral if retinoblastoma is suspected. Employees and customers of Vision Express have raised around £300,000 since the partnership was forged and recently added £25,000 to the tally with a 200-mile cycle fundraiser in September, called the ‘Ride4Sight’.
For more information on retinoblastoma please visit www.chect.org.uk