Mum warns parents to look out for hidden signs of cancer after daughter's shock diagnosis

Felicity's parents were not initially concerned about the strange glint in her eyes
Felicity's parents were not initially concerned about the strange glint in her eyes

A mum has told how her world was "torn apart" after doctors gave her the devastating news that her daughter was suffering from a rare form of cancer.

Felicity Bone, from Lancaster, was just nine months old when she was given a shock diagnosis of Retinoblastoma - an aggressive cancer that develops in the eyes of young children.

Felicity appeared to be a happy and healthy child at the time of her diagnosis

Felicity appeared to be a happy and healthy child at the time of her diagnosis

The little girl's mother, Charlotte Salisbury, first visited doctors with her otherwise "well and normal" daughter after a chance comment from a midwife friend who noticed a strange reflection in Felicity's eye.

A series of appointments followed and last August doctors dealt the 33-year-old mother a devastating blow when they revealed that her daughter had three aggressive tumours in each of her eyes.

The mum of two is now urging other parents to be vigilant after saying that the only symptom of her daughter's potentially deadly cancer was a glint or strange "cat's eye" reflection.

Charlotte said: "I noticed a white reflection in Felicity's left eye in certain lights. At the time I never thought anything of it at all. A few months later my friend saw it and told me to take her to the GP.

Felicity's mum Charlotte now wants other parents to be aware of the symptoms of childhood cancer

Felicity's mum Charlotte now wants other parents to be aware of the symptoms of childhood cancer

"I had no idea at the time what it was, she showed no signs of illness. She was a happy normal baby.

"When we were first told she had retinoblastoma it just felt like the world had been torn apart.

"To be told when she was just nine-months old that she had cancer was just horrific and having to break that news to my family members was indescribable. I still don't think it has totally sunk in."

But the brave mum of two has told how a post she made to social media detailing the symptoms of her daughter's illness went viral - saving at least one other young girl's life in the process.

She said: "At the beginning when Felicity was first diagnosed we just wanted to keep everything private. It was such a shock for the whole family.

"But I wanted to tell people what to look out for and to share what had happened to Felicity as it is such a rare cancer.

"I wrote a Facebook post and that was shared over 65,000 times. I had people from all over the country messaging me asking me about their children's symptoms.

"One little girl from Leeds was diagnosed with the cancer after her mum saw my post. Unfortunately, one of her eyes had to be removed, but her life was saved."

Felicity has now completed four out of six rounds of chemotherapy and is said to be doing well by staff who are treating her.

Charlotte said: "I can't praise the staff enough who have been giving Felicity her chemotherapy on ward 84 at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and Dr MV Parulekar who has been treating her at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

"They've just been amazing. The Doctor has told me that two tumours, one in each of her eyes, have disappeared and she is now regaining the sight in her left eye.

"It's really good news."

Patrick Tonks, Chief Executive of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, said: “Retinoblastoma is a rare and fast growing eye cancer that affects babies and young children, mainly under the age of six. Around 50-60 cases are diagnosed in the UK every year – approximately one child a week. Retinoblastoma can either affect one or both eyes.

“Symptoms are often subtle and can include a squint, a change in iris colour or a white glow in a child’s eye which can be seen either in dim lighting or when a photo is taken using a flash. Sadly, more than 70% of children will lose an eye to stop the cancer spreading.

“Parents usually know when their little one is unwell but with retinoblastoma, children often seem perfectly happy and healthy so it’s much harder to spot. Symptoms like a squint or white eye are often nothing to worry about but they should always be checked to rule out anything serious.”

According to Macmillan there are 40 to 50 cases of retinoblastoma diagnosed in the UK each year. Treatment is very effective and nearly all (98 out of 100) children with retinoblastoma are cured.

A charity night will be held on Monday, December 4 in the Kings Arms Garstang in aid of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust and to help support Felicity's family as they travel between appointments to continue to fight the little girl's cancer. To donate to the fund please click here

Tickets are £5.00 which will include a free festive handcream on arrival a homemade mince pie and a glass of mulled wine. For more information or to purchase a ticket contact Linzi Mcdaid on Facebook.

For further information on Retinoblastoma visit www.chect.org.uk

Charlotte's original Facebook post which helped save the life of a little girl

Hey everybody, now I'm not the kind of person to put something so private on Facebook. But I want to share this with you all and ask in return that you share this far and wide as I want every single mum and dad out there to be aware of cancer in babies/children! It all started when I noticed a white reflection in Felicity's left eye in certain lights. At the time I never thought anything of it at all. A few months later my friend saw it and told me to take her to the GP so I did! The doctor referred her to Manchester eye department. They told us that Felicity had Retinoblastoma which is a very rare cancer in young children. She is now on chemotherapy which up to now is going well. As a mum I had no idea at the time what it was, she showed no signs of illness. She was a happy normal baby. This has been life changing for myself and my family/friends. Felicity is doing well and so far the chemo is working how it should,she still has a long road a head. Please share far and wide I want people to be made aware of any childhood cancer. If you notice anything unusual about your child please take them to the doctors.