Eye cancer survivor helps opens new opticians

A youngster who had his eye removed after being diagnosed with retinoblastoma (Rb) at just 20 months old helped Vision Express open its new Metrocentre store recently.

James Marshall, 11, officially cut the ribbon on the Vision Express premises accompanied by mum Julie Weatherly (pictured). Now recovered, James has annual monitoring at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary to check the cancer hasn’t spread. Julie explained: “Ten years on, James doesn’t let having only one functioning eye stop him from fulfilling his dreams of becoming a footballer. He puts all of his time into enjoying the sport, and currently plays for the Heddon Juniors under 12s.”

James is an ambassador for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), which has been a charity partner of Vision Express since 2010 and supports families affected by the rare condition.

A ribbon cutting led by James celebrated the store’s recent move within the Metrocentre to a new home with state-of-the-art facilities.

Julie added: “The partnership between Vision Express and CHECT makes everyone more aware of the importance of eye tests, especially with conditions as rare as retinoblastoma. The charity hold members events too and they have given James the chance to meet other children who have had their eyes removed, which is something he would never have experienced otherwise.”

Vision Express Metrocentre store manager, Janice Bainbridge, added: “It was brilliant to have James and his mum join us to officially declare our new store open. His story of overcoming adversity despite the vision challenges he faces, is nothing short of inspirational.