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Devoted mum of little girl with eye cancer to help concerned parents
THE mum of a little girl with a rare form of cancer will help concerned parents at a Poole optician’s this weekend.
Tracey Rodriguez, who has recently left her job as a cancer nurse as Poole Hospital, noticed her daughter Lucy had a problem with her eyes just weeks after she was born.
The youngster, now 20 months, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in both eyes when she was 14 weeks old.
The illness mainly affects children aged five and under, with only 40 children diagnosed per year in the UK.
Of those, only five will suffer with cancer in both eyes, as Lucy does.
Mrs Rodriguez, who lives in Blandford, said: “At the moment, we’re travelling to the Royal London Hospital every two or three weeks so Lucy can get treatment.
“She had laser and cryotherapy treatments, which alternately heat then freeze her eyes in an effort to get rid of the tumours. Unfortunately, the ones in her right eye are particularly stubborn, and she has been diagnosed with more recently.”
Lucy has no vision in her right eye, and partial vision in her left.
Before she was first diagnosed, Mrs Rodriguez was told by a GP that her daughter couldn’t have cancer as it doesn’t appear in both eyes.
“Not enough is known by many medical professionals about retinoblastoma,” she said.
“Fortunately, the team at Royal London Hospital are amazing. We are so lucky to have such fantastic doctors and nurses taking care of Lucy.”
But hospital staff aren’t the only ones looking out for the tot.
Big brothers Tom, three, and George, five, are jokingly nicknamed “the Krays” by the family.
Mrs Rodriguez said: “They’re so protective of her and always make sure she’s okay.”
Despite her vision problems, Lucy is growing up like any other toddler.
“She has recently taken her first couple of steps,” said her proud mum.
“She’s just taken those steps a little bit later than most.”
Mrs Rodriguez will be helping to raise awareness of retinoblastoma at Vision Express in Poole from 1.15pm onwards today.
The day, part of the shop’s 25th anniversary celebrations, will also feature an all-day hula-hoop challenge, a cake sale and a tombola to raise money for charity.
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