A family gathers around a picnic table for this photo. Some are sitting, some standing, all smiling. Several people are wearing childhood cancer awareness gold ribbons and t-shirts. One girl’s t-shirt reads “I am a fighter; childhood cancer awareness”. The stick part of the letter H in “fighter” is replaced by a gold ribbon. ¬¬¬¬¬¬Across the table, a young child’s t-shirt bears another gold ribbon, and the words “for my sister”. A woman stands behind wearing a t-shirt with a big gold ribbon printed over a repeated series of words in various fonts – the words include “fighter, warrior, brave, believe, courage, hope, love”.

Sun and Smiles Shine at the 5th Annual Southern California Retinoblastoma Family Day

In-person contact with other families and survivors affected by childhood eye cancer is life-changing. On November 5th, World Eye Cancer Hope USA hosted 80 retinoblastoma community members for a picnic party in glorious fall sunshine.  Marissa D. Gonzalez, bilateral Rb survivor, and President and founding board member of WE C Hope USA, shares highlights from the day of sunshine and smiles.

A faded portrait of a toddler Marissa and her grandmother, sitting together on outdoor steps.

Living With Vision Loss: Challenges and Changing Perspectives

For many survivors of bilateral retinoblastoma, vision changes throughout life. This may be due to treatment late effects, eye health, or other medical events. World Eye Cancer Hope USA President and founding board member, Marissa D. Gonzalez, recounts her journey with vision loss during two different seasons of life, and her difficult course with acquired blindness as an adult after decades of good sight.

Damian lies on a hospital bed, wearing a blue t-shirt with a red and yellow Team Damian logo that resembles the brand of his hero, Spiderman. He is bald and is smiling at the camera.

Under-Treatment and Over-Treatment of Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma care is a complex balancing act.  Some children receive too little treatment, while others receive more than necessary, with potentially devastating results.  Sharing two children’s stories, Rb survivor Abby White explores what under- and over-treatment are, when they may happen, their consequences, and how we can prevent them.

A female doctor wearing green scrubs, surgical mask, and a brightly coloured scrub cap, sits on a play area with a child patient. She has placed her stethoscope on the child’s doll. The child is facing the doctor, mostly out of frame, and is using a toy stethoscope to mirror the doctor’s actions.

10 Child Life Tips for Clinicians

Medical appointments, procedures, and treatments are potentially stressful for children and their families, at all stages of their retinoblastoma experience. Child life specialist Morgan Livingstone shares 10 simple ways all medical professionals can ease stress and anxiety, support healthy coping, and help children and families thrive throughout simple interactions and complex cancer care.

A diverse group of people sit around a table talking. The table is filled with papers and classes of water, and more people are seen working together around tables in the background..

Ethnography: A New Frontier in Retinoblastoma Research

Every child with retinoblastoma, parent, sibling, survivor, and medical professional has a story to tell of their journey through childhood eye cancer. Understanding our individual and collective experience empowers us to develop and deliver holistic care for all.  Rb survivor and WE C Hope USA Director, Clayonia Colbert-Dorsey discusses the growing field of ethnography research, and how it can positively impact our diverse global community.

A fuzzy, brown teddy bear sits on a table with a blue table cloth. The bear has red and black plaid feet, a cream snout, black eyes, a brown nose, and a black smile. A nasograstric tube and a gastrostomy tube are inserted, and an IV pole and IV fluids are seen to the side. Behind the bear is a teddy bear sized hospital bed and a green curtain.

Play – The Key Ingredient to Pediatric Medical Care

Play is the language, university, and business of childhood. Medical play is a key part of child-focused health care, helping young patients learn, reduce fear, and take part in their care. Sophie Goldberg, child life intern and student of Child Life and Pediatric Psychosocial Care, explores what medical play is, and how you can use it to empower your child through their medical experiences.

Marissa and her mother are smiling at the camera. Marissa is wearing a black and gold number 6 USC football jersey. Her mom is wearing a cardinal USC shirt. Behind them stands the statue of Tommy Trojan on the USC campus.

A Milestone Anniversary: Celebrating 30 Years Being Cancer Free

For many children and their families, eye cancer diagnosis begins a lifetime journey, with many twists and turns through treatment and long after being declared cancer free. World Eye Cancer Hope USA President Marissa D. Gonzalez reflects on three decades being cancer free from retinoblastoma, the journey of a cancer survivor, and the future with her cancerversary fundraiser.

“Breathe! When we’re anxious or angry, we tense up, hold our breath or breathe fast and shallow, increasing stress even more. Slow, deep breathing almost instantly diffuses tension, helping us feel calm, clear-headed and in control. Add some aromatherapy or a mindful walk in fresh air for a greater oasis of calm.” Image to the left shows a young girl in profile, holding a bubble wand and blowing bubbles. The background is filed with bubbles in clear focus against the blurred gold and green of a natural landscape.

26 Ways to Nurture Mind and Body: revisit the 2021 Alphabet of Hope

Throughout 2021, our fourth Alphabet of Hope shared top tips for practical action to reduce stress and nurture mind and body. Bilateral Rb Survivor and WE C Hope Volunteer CEO, Abby White, introduces our complete 2021 alphabet, and offers suggestions for creating your own Self-Care Action Plan to help ease stress through difficult moments and tough days.

A slide from Sarah’s presentation, titled “Thank You”, with a single photo and the One Rb World 2021 Logo below. In the photo, Sarah sits on a rock structure at the top of a mountain. Her body is facing to the left, her legs outstretched, and her feet resting on a different rock. She is leaning against the rock she is seated on, looking away from the camera at the view. Slivers of blue sky peak through the blanket of clouds, and in the distance, many trees, farms, fields and national parkland can be seen from this high vantage point.

One Rb World 2021: Planning, Creating, Sharing and Raising Hope Together

On 1-3 October, we hosted a hope-filled One Rb World 2021 meeting. Planning and hosting is always an adventure, and the 6th One Rb World was especially so! Co-Chairs, Dr. Sandra Staffieri PhD, Rb Care Co-Ordinator, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, and Marissa Gonzalez, Bilateral Rb Survivor and President, World Eye Cancer Hope USA, share behind-the-scenes insight and conference highlights.

Promotional card in tropical colours. Text reads: "One Retinoblastoma World. Virtual Conference, October 1-3. A global conference for eye and cancer specialists, researchers, parents, and survivors. Register Today!” www.wechope.org/onerbworld

Register Now for One Retinoblastoma World 2021 – Sharing Ideas, Opportunities and Friendship

As the 6th One Retinoblastoma World Conference fast approaches, this year’s organizers Sandra Staffieri and Marissa Gonzalez, together with Megan Webber, are excited to share an update. They give an overview of the program, highlighting some of the sessions and goals, and the need for global discussion and collaboration involving all stakeholders.