A YOUNG eye cancer survivor was the guest of honour when a refurbished opticians was opened.
Leah Bartlett, nine, from Gosport, was officially representing the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), which is a nominated charity of Vision Express.
The chain has refurbished its store in High Street, Gosport.
Leah was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in August 2006, when she was aged only one.
Due to the large size of the tumour, Leah had to undergo emergency surgery to remove the eye in order to save her life.
Leah’s mum Rachel said: ‘Leah really enjoyed opening the new Gosport Vision Express store.
‘An extra surprise was the store had arranged to give her a large soft toy tiger as a thank you, which was great.
‘Leah and I were really pleased to be part of the day and to help raise awareness of retinoblastoma.’
The disease is cancer of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye.
Retinoblastoma causes the cells of the retina to grow rapidly and out of control.
It is a rare type of cancer that affects children under the age of five.
Leah’s case was unusual as according to the NHS, the cancer is usually detected and treated early in the UK.
This is why more than 98 per cent of children are successfully treated.
Staff at the store are trained to look out for this disease, as well as many others.
Store manager Hayley Langton said: ‘Leah did a great job of officially opening our new-look store. We are keen supporters of CHECT and it was lovely for a representative of the charity to take the time to visit us for our official opening.
‘Our Vision Express team here has many years of experience looking after eyecare in the community.
‘We’re delighted with our new store and look forward to continuing to offer a high level of service including comprehensive sight tests, sophisticated eye health screening equipment and a wide selection of frames in our new look store.’