Pub crawl in aid of Charley
A FEW months ago Karen Garrard could not even doggy paddle, let alone swim the length of a swimming pool.But this month she is due to swim 60 lengths of the competition pool to help raise awareness of a devastating eye cancer, which meant her baby daughter had to have her eye removed.
A FEW months ago Karen Garrard could not even doggy paddle, let alone swim the length of a swimming pool.
But this month she is due to swim 60 lengths of the competition pool to help raise awareness of a devastating eye cancer, which meant her baby daughter had to have her eye removed.
And before that, tonight, Karen from Queensberry Road, Ipswich and a group of friends are due to be taking part in a pub crawl in Ipswich town centre to collect money for the Retinoblastoma Society.
They all plan to be dressed in doctors and nurses outfits so will be difficult to miss.
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Karen's daughter Charley, who is now five and at school, was found to be suffering from Retinoblastoma when she was just two years old.
In a bid to raise the profile of this terrible disease Karen is determined to do everything she can to help.
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She said: "If people think there is anything wrong go to the doctors straight away and don't just leave it like I did."
Having never been able to swim she decided to take lessons when Charley started school.
She said: "It is a real challenge – I want to do it for me and to raise money for the society.
"It has been a bit of a panic because I have not been able to go swimming during the holidays so I was worried I would not be able to do it."
Retinoblastoma is an extremely rare condition and Karen thought her daughter just had a lazy eye like others in her family.
But Karen went away for a few days and when she came back noticed that there was something glassy about Charlie's eye.
Eventually Charlie was diagnosed with cancer and had to have her eye removed.
That was two years ago and Karen was told Charley would have to have regular check ups for five years before she can be told her daughter is totally in the clear.
Anyone who would like to sponsor Karen should make donations out to the Retinoblastoma Society and send them c/o Jessica Nicholls, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN who will then pass them on to Karen.
Retinoblastoma is a malignant tumour or cancer that develops in the cells of the eye.
More than nine out of ten children with Retinoblastoma can be successfully treated and it has one of the best cure rates of all childhood cancers.
It is one of the less common cancers and accounts for only three our of every 100 cancers occurring in children under the age of 15.
The tumour usually develops before the age of five years, some children are born with it.
Two common signs of the cancer are an abnormal appearance of the pupil which tends to reflect light as a white reflex like a cat's eye and also a squint.