Retinoblastoma is highly curable, but lifelong impacts are significant for survivors, siblings, parents and extended family. After a particularly painful personal insight, Rb survivor and WE C Hope CEO Abby White asked families and survivors about their own experiences of life beyond childhood eye cancer care.
Individuals who carry an RB1 mutation have a 50% chance of passing the retinoblastoma cancer syndrome on to each child. Melissa Mills, bilateral retinoblastoma survivor and genetic counsellor, explores the psychological and physical impacts of this experience, and the different routes to creating a family when a prospective parent has an RB1 mutation..
Local in-person support specific to the needs of families and survivors affected by retinoblastoma is much needed but very rare. Lisa Hester, mother of a young Rb survivor, reflects on the second WE C Hope California Family Day, held in August 2019, the seeds of our mission to bring this support to all across America.
A diagnosis of childhood eye cancer impacts families in so many ways, during the immediate crisis of treatment, and years after “cure”. Knowing you are not alone on the journey is the greatest comfort and strength. Five mothers reflect on the healing power of Camp Sunshine, a retreat that cares for the entire family when cancer strikes.
Many retinoblastoma survivors live with significant long term treatment impacts and second cancer risks. Yet most children, adult survivors and their families struggle to access appropriate ongoing care. Len Burns, a totally blind bilateral Rb survivor and licensed family therapist, highlights the most common survivor concerns, and potential ways to improve long term care and quality of life.
Annie, an important member of our team, retired on April 15th. Abby White, retinoblastoma survivor, WE C Hope founder and volunteer CEO, reflects on working with her guide dog for seven years. She considers the many varied gifts Annie has brought to both herself as an individual retinoblastoma survivor, and to WE C Hope.
Familial retinoblastoma affects more than one member of the same family. Diagnosing children early provides the best opportunities for life and sight-saving care. Alison Skalet, ocular oncologist and director of the Rb service at Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, explores opportunities for early diagnosis when a parent, sibling or other relative has already been diagnosed.
For many individuals diagnosed with retinoblastoma, sight-loss means braille is the primary means of reading and writing. In celebration of World Braille Day on Friday January 4th, Rb survivor Ffion Miles introduces us to a very special relationship she has with six tiny dots, and the marvellous adventures they’ve shared together.
The WE C Hope blog has been busy in 2018. We’ve shared 24 posts from 17 authors – parents, survivors, researchers or professionals providing retinoblastoma-related care. Each has brought valuable experience, knowledge and perspective, and we are very thankful to them all. Here is a recap of posts we’ve shared in the past 12 months.
Vision loss is a major part of the retinoblastoma experience, but rarely discussed in depth within our community. Sassy Outwater-Wright explores the trauma of vision loss, the experience of living with reduced or no sight, and pathways to living well at every age and stage of sight-loss.