Vision Express has recognised a group of 27 child volunteers, who have survived retinoblastoma and campaigned to raise awareness of the rare eye cancer.
The volunteers, who are ambassadors for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), have been rallying support at 95 Vision Express store openings and fundraising events across the UK.
Each volunteer was presented with a medal at a special charity event held to celebrate CHECT’s 30 years.
Volunteers include 10-year-old Fintan Morley-Smith, who had life-saving surgery to remove both of his eyes after living with the rare eye cancer for the first six years of his life.
Now cancer-free, Fintan wears artificial eyes and is helped by his ‘buddy dog’, Audrey, who accompanied him to unveil the refurbished Vision Express store in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.
At the prize-giving event, the charity’s CEO, Patrick Tonks, was presented with a cheque for £20,000, which represented the donations received in Vision Express stores in recent months.
Mr Tonks said: “Our partnership with Vision Express is so valuable because it helps spread the word about retinoblastoma, educating customers and promoting the importance of an eye test, which is crucial for a speedy diagnosis.”
“The ambassador programme, building relationships between local store teams and cancer survivors is a huge success because it is led by the children and families who have been so directly impacted by retinoblastoma,” he explained.
“As a small charity, we receive no government funding, so the financial support we receive from Vision Express plays a crucial role in helping us continue our work to support families affected by this aggressive cancer. We can’t thank them enough,” he added.