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FIGHTER: East Lancs tot in battle to save her sight
THE parents of a baby who had an eye removed because of cancer face an anxious wait to see if her sight can be saved after a second tumour was found.
One-year-old Elyssa Davies had her right eye taken out two weeks ago after being diagnosed with retinoblastoma.
But her mum and dad, Natasha Scott and Philip Davies, were also given the devastating news that there was another tumour behind her left eye.
Now the Darwen couple must wait to see if doctors can keep the tumour under control and whether the cancer has spread to anywhere else in Elyssa’s body.
Retinoblastoma is a rapidly developing cancer that occurs in the light-detecting tissue of the eye. It affects just 40 to 50 children in the UK each year.
Mr Davies, who works at Cosmotec, Blackburn, said they first noticed a problem three or four weeks ago. He said: “When her pupils were open wide you could see a cloudy white thing inside.”
Their doctor sent them straight to Burnley General Hospital, from where they were referred to the Royal London Hospital.
“And when we were in London they said it was in both eyes and we just could not believe it,” he said.
A week after her first appointment in London, Elyssa had her right eye completely removed.
Now, Philip and Natasha, who also have a son, Corey, three, face the horrifying prospect that their daughter could lose her remaining eye or have to undergo chemotherapy if the cancer has spread.
Mr Davies said: “It is horrible. It is the worst time of our lives. We cried for a week solid when we first found out and every time family came round we would all end up crying.”
Miss Scott, a hairdresser at Dimensions Hair Studio, Wilpshire, said Elyssa had responded well to treatment. She said: “They told us the tumour had been blocking her sight so she did not know any different. She has adjusted to having one eye.”
Elyssa will have to wear a false eye for the rest of her life, but has not had one made yet.
Mr Davies said: “She is wearing what they call a conformer so the eye socket can heal. After a few months she will get a proper eye moulded to match the other and it will move and everything as it will sit on the nerves.
“She will have to have it changed regularly over the years as she grows, so we will be back and forth to London.” With no way of removing the tiny tumour from Elyssa’s other eye, doctors have been trying to prevent it from increasing in size.
Mr Davies said: “There is no way they can take the tumour out but they said it should not grow with the treatment.
“And after she is four or five then it should stay the same size and she can live with it.
“It is out of her line of vision so as long as it doesn’t get any bigger she could live with it for the rest of her life.”
Miss Scott added: “The doctors said it could have been a lot worse, and that is what we want to tell people.
“People need to go straight to the doctors if they think something is wrong.
“Our daughter has lost an eye but we may have actually got lucky because we spotted it early.”
Friends and family have rallied around the couple and even started fundraising to help with the costs of regular trips to London.
Mr Davies said: “Our friends have been brilliant and people are raising cash for us to go to London and back and take time off work.
“A lot of people have donated and I think we raised £1,000 in a few hours.
“We couldn’t believe it. People have been so generous.”
A charity football tournament will take place at AFC Darwen’s WEC Group Anchor Ground on Sunday, June 29, alongside activities for children, raffles and more.
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