FRIDAY’S royal wedding celebrations prompted residents of a Blyth estate to raise money for a charity close to their hearts.
Just as the royal couple decided to raise money for charity instead of receiving wedding gifts, those attending the South Shore Estate’s royal wedding street party opted to collect donations funds for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (Chect).
Little Ellis Hicks was just 13 months old when he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer.
Ellis celebrated his sixth birthday on the same day that Prince William married Kate Middleton in front of a TV audience of millions, so his family decided to use the double celebration as an opportunity to give something back to the charity for supporting them.
Ellis had numerous cancerous tumours in his left eye and two in his right one.
Unfortunately, his left eye could not be saved, and after months of painful chemotherapy, laser and freezing treatments, some of which made him very ill, it was removed.
Although Ellis struggles with his balance at times, being determined, he has managed well with only one eye since just before his second birthday and is now used to having an artificial eye.
Ellis’s mum, Suzanne Wilson, said: “We have been through such a difficult time, and the support, advice and information Chect has given us has been amazing.
“They have also put us in touch with other families in the region who have children with the same condition, so we can support each other.
“Ellis has had treatment at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and also at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
“Every time we travelled to Birmingham, we received excellent support from Chect. We could not have managed without them.
“I am so pleased that the estate has decided to raise funds for Chect. It means so much to us.
“They are only a small organisation and not very well known, but they are brilliant.
“As for Ellis’s future, he has to be monitored constantly as he is more susceptible to different forms of cancer as he gets older.
“We take every day as it comes and appreciate every day we have with him.”
Joy Felgate, Chect’s chief executive, said: “Thank you to all the people of South Shore for helping to raise awareness of eye cancer and vital funds for the charity, as well as getting into the spirit of the royal wedding celebrations.
“Ellis has already on many occasions helped us to raise awareness of the condition. His photo showing a white reflection in his eye has been used in lots of our awareness material.”
A total of around £650 was raised on the day.
Visit www.chect.org.uk for more information or www.justgiving.com/southshoreCHECT to donate.