A young eye cancer survivor and charity ambassador from Hartlepool was recently invited to help Vision Express celebrate the opening of its new-look Wellington Square store in Stockton-on-Tees.

Eloise Robinson, from Hartlepool, was under two years old when she was diagnosed with the rare eye cancer retinoblastoma after her mum Pamela noticed an unusual white glow in her left eye. Just a week later Eloise had life-saving surgery to remove her eye to prevent the cancer from spreading.

Now 11 years old, Eloise has just started secondary school. Her mum Pamela says: “Eloise used to lack confidence in herself due to her artificial eye, however she has grown into a much more confident young lady who doesn’t let the fact that she has only one eye stop her.

“Eloise enjoys various activities but thoroughly likes reading and arts and crafts, showing a real talent in particular for drawing.”

As part of her role as an ambassador for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), Eloise was invited, along with her mum, to perform an official ribbon cutting as Vision Express celebrated its Stockton-on-Tees store relaunch.

CHECT, one of Vision Express’ nominated charities, raises awareness of retinoblastoma, also known as Rb. Around 50 to 60 cases of Rb are diagnosed each year and while 98% of those diagnosed will survive, they may face having an eye removed or have lasting impairment issues.

Stockton-on-Tees store manager Ged Johnson and the rest of the store team who have over 20 years’ combined optical experience with Vision Express, welcomed Eloise and Pamela to the store.

Ged says: “Eloise is a great ambassador because of the bravery she has shown at such a young age. It was an honour to have her as our special guest, helping us reopen our revamped store while raising awareness of retinoblastoma.

“With our upgraded facilities and state-of-the-art examining equipment, we can continue to deliver an individual and thorough vision care service to the local community.”

Vision Express offers an eye test to best practice guidelines of the College of Optometrists (COO), with each Vision Express optometrist being a qualified eye health professional. To book an eye test at the Stockton-on-Tees store call 01642 628910, visit 29, Wellington Square, TS18 1RH or make an online enquiry at: www.visionexpress.com/book-eye-test/

For more information on retinoblastoma please visit www.chect.org.uk