Family champion eye tests after mum and daughters diagnosed

Important tests: Darran with wife Corina and daughters Isabella and Michaella and store manager Paul Waring

Two young sisters fighting a rare and aggressive eye cancer three decades after their mum battled the same condition were guests of honour as the family opened a new optician.

Five-year-old Isabella Goodale and younger sister Michaella, nearly two, were both diagnosed with retinoblastoma (Rb), a malignant eye tumour usually seen in children, before they are three months old.

The pair had a 50 per cent chance of developing the condition after mum Corina was diagnosed with the condition as a 14-month baby in 1983.

All three were joined by dad Darran to open a new Vision Express store at Tesco Abingdon as part of Rb Awareness Week earlier this month.

The Marcham family shared their eye-health story to highlight the importance of regular eye tests.

Corina was diagnosed with Rb in both eyes when living in Moldova after an ophthalmologist friend of the family noticed a white glow – a common symptom of the rare cancer

Although chemotherapy, radiotherapy and laser treatment saved her life, she lost all vision in her right eye and was left with 30 per cent sight in her left.

“I was the first child in the Soviet Union to be treated and reach remission with both eyes in place,” said Corina, who is registered blind. 

When Isabella arrived in 2013, Corina and Darran knew there was a chance she would have Rb.

She did, in both eyes, just like her mum. But, as the cancer was caught so early after 10 weeks, laser treatment was successful and she avoided needing chemotherapy and has vision in both eyes. As of 2013, Isabella is officially in remission.

Corina said her daughter’s brave and fearless character helped beat the cancer, adding: “We were very lucky that the tumours were small and responded well to laser treatment.

“Early diagnosis makes a massive difference and it saved my daughter’s sight.”

The fourth Goodale family member was born in summer 2016 and Michaella, like Isabella, responded well to laser treatment following her diagnosis within a month. She is nearly two and, as of last October, joined her big sister in remission. 

Isabella and Michaella are ambassadors of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT).

Sharing is caring!