Eye cancer sufferer Eliza does opening honours at new shop

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Eye cancer sufferer Eliza Deakin with mum Lucy and store manager Gemma Exley at the new Vision Express branch Eye cancer sufferer Eliza Deakin with mum Lucy and store manager Gemma Exley at the new Vision Express branch

The official opening of a new opticians branch was carried out by the mother of a Shipley toddler who suffers from a rare eye cancer.

Lucy Deakin, whose 15-month old daughter Eliza was diagnosed with a condition called bilateral retinoblastoma at two months, performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Vision Express branch in Northgate, Baildon.

They made the special visit representing the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), which is a nominated charity of Vision Express.

The company has also opened a new branch in High Street, Yeadon.

Eliza has had extensive treatment since to save her sight, including intra-vitreal chemotherapy, where drugs are injected directly into the eye. She is still undergoing regular treatment at the Royal London Hospital.

Retinoblastoma affects the retina of children, predominantly under the age of six.

Statistically, it affects around one in 20,000 live births each year, about 50 cases a year or three per cent of childhood cancers in the UK.

Eliza and Lucy officially opened the store following a recent refurbishment, while the Yeadon branch was officially opened by store staff.

The openings marked the two stores becoming part of Vision Express, following their acquisition from the Rayner group.

Over the next year, both stores are set to raise money for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, looking to raise £1,000 each to help CHECT support families and fund research into retinoblastoma.

Gemma Exley, Baildon store manager, said: “As we mark this special occasion, it was lovely to welcome Lucy and Eliza to our store. Our thanks go to them for helping with the launch and to all of our customers, who have been very complimentary of our new facilities.

“We’re pleased that as Vision Express we can continue to provide the same high level of service our customers know us for, with an offering which now includes sophisticated eye health screening equipment and a wide selection of frames.”

Liam Doherty, store manager for Vision Express Yeadon, added: “We’ve traded from our Yeadon address for more than ten years as Rayners and as Websters before that, so it’s great that we’re keeping the store alive as a reputable opticians local people can continue to rely on.

“Our staff, who together have combined experience of more than 30 years, look forward to welcoming customers new and old to the refreshed store.”

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