On September 29, 2004, Abby White, a retinoblastoma survivor and friend of Daisy’s family, received an email from a mother in Africa whose two-year-old daughter had eye cancer. By coincidence, September 29th is also the Feast of St Michael, Patron Saint of Sick Children, often celebrated with wreathes of Michaelmas Daisies.
Gorata (Rati) was diagnosed with a recurrence of retinoblastoma following removal of her eye 19 months before. Such a recurrence is rare in developed countries, but very common in developing countries due to late diagnosis, poor access to expert care and lack of compassionate family support.
Abby began advocating for Rati and her family. Daisy’s parents donated money from The Daisy Fund to enable international travel and initial treatment. Four weeks after Abby received the first email, Rati began intensive therapy at SickKids in Canada.
We established Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund in England and at SickKids Foundation, to raise funds for Rati’s care. The UK fund achieved official charity registration in September 2005. We rebranded in 2015 to become World Eye Cancer Hope.
Beyond One Child, Sharing Hope For All
Rati responded very well to therapy for a year, but the gift of expert care came to late for her and the cancer returned. She died on 21 August, 2006. Multiple opportunities to save her life in Africa were missed, and she challenged us to improve care for children like her who suffer so greatly.
Within three years, our mission evolved rapidly, as we aspire to preserve life and sight for all children with eye cancer around the world. We pursue this ultimate goal by building sustainable local capacity to deliver the best possible medical and supportive care.
Our strength lies in our unique worldwide collaboration of health care professionals, parents and survivors, scientists and others concerned about retinoblastoma. All our activities are motivated by a desire to promote the complete wellbeing of each child, adult survivor and their family.
Rati set us a challenge to help children like her, who are dying in terrible pain from this entirely curable cancer. In September 2006, we launched “Rati’s Challenge” as our first initiative addressing the needs of families affected by retinoblastoma in Africa. This led to the founding of our Kenya