Childhood eye cancer and its lifelong impacts can be a lonely, overwhelming experience. Connecting with others who understand is a healing balm for many. On November 4th, nearly 100 young patients, survivors, family and friends gathered to celebrate and support the amazing Rb community in Southern California. Marissa D. Gonzalez, bilateral Rb survivor and WE C Hope USA President, shares highlights from another delightful Family Day.
Research funding is vital to improve retinoblastoma early diagnosis, life and sight-saving treatment, family support, survivor care, and cancer prevention. But securing the funds for rare cancer research is very tough, often demoralising for researchers and clinician-scientists. Three retinoblastoma researchers share their experience, and two organizations helping to drive Rb research forward invite you to help.
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.
Prompt, appropriate medical care is vital for all children with retinoblastoma. A range of treatments are used depending on extent of the cancer, its risk of spread, and the child’s health and wellbeing. Sessions at every One Rb World explore aspects of medical care, and how we can ensure the best possible outcomes for each child. Below, we share sessions from the 2017, 2020, and 2021 meetings.
Retinoblastoma is a complex cancer with potentially significant and serious lifelong impacts for the survivor and all family members. Sessions at every One Rb World explore the risks and challenges survivors and families encounter beyond childhood eye cancer, and how we can improve comprehensive survivorship care throughout life. Below, we share sessions from the 2017, 2020, and 2021 meetings.
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.
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.
Many families tell of delayed pathways to care when their child is diagnosed with eye cancer. Orthoptist and retinoblastoma care coordinator, Sandra Staffieri, and leukocoria awareness advocate, Megan Webber, are frustrated by the repeated stories and their negative patient impacts. They explore why these delays continue, some efforts to overcome the challenges, and where they find hope for the future.
The fun continued throughout the Mid-Atlantic Retinoblastoma Family Weekend in early March 2023. In the second half of our weekend recap, our families take on rock climbing, explore the Kennedy Center, and continue to form vital friendships. Bilateral Rb survivor, WE C Hope USA President and Founding Board Member, Marissa D. Gonzalez, shares more highlights from this eventful and emotional weekend.
Over the weekend of March 10 – 12, 2023, 80 retinoblastoma patients, survivors and families from across the US East Coast enjoyed monuments and landmarks around Washington D.C. while making new friends in the retinoblastoma community. Bilateral Rb survivor and WE C Hope USA President and Founding Board Member, Marissa D. Gonzalez, recaps this eventful and emotional weekend in this two-part blog.