Brave Ellis backs fundraising drive

Ellis with his mum Suzanne, and Rebecca and Craig from Vision Express.
Ellis with his mum Suzanne, and Rebecca and Craig from Vision Express.

A youngster from Northumberland who has battled a rare eye cancer was the special guest at the launch of a fundraising drive.

Ten-year-old Ellis Hicks, from Blyth, joined staff at Vision Express in Morpeth on Friday as they launched their campaign during World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week to support charity partner The Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT).

Ellis was diagnosed with a rare eye cancer called retinoblastoma at 13-months-old, and despite trying to fend off the cancer for ten months with chemotherapy, laser and freezing treatments, doctors were unable to save Ellis’ left eye.

A local ambassador for CHECT, Ellis and his mum Suzanne visited the store on Friday to support Vision Express Morpeth in its fundraising efforts.

The team raised money by inviting the public to correctly guess the name of a teddy to win the bear, as well as offering a donation-only glasses ‘MOT’.

Vision Express Morpeth’s store manager Craig Sixsmith, added: “I was great welcoming Ellis to the store, to support our fundraising and share his personal experience of eye cancer.

“It’s a great morale boost for the team to do something meaningful for such a good cause, and having Ellis in-store really spurred us on – every single penny we can raise will count, and we hope the local community will dig deep to support us.”

Joy Felgate, chief executive officer of CHECT, added: “Retinoblastoma is often unheard of by parents, so World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week is important to focus attention on the vital signs to spot, and help raise funds so we can continue to support families and individuals affected by this devastating and life-threatening condition.”

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