A three-year-old girl has been saved thanks to her granddad who spotted she had a rare form of eye cancer – in a PHOTO.
Little Rose Lucking-Elhitmi was just six months old and on a family holiday when Terry Lucking realised something was wrong.
The camera flash made the pupil of the tot’s right eye turn a ghostly white instead of the usual red.
Terry raised the alarm and Rose was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called retinoblastoma.
But because it was spotted so early doctors were able to quickly start treatment and two years on Rose is now in remission.
Terry, 69, said: “We were on holiday in the Lake District and for once we were using a flash for some reason. I don’t know why.
“When we took the photograph I noticed that instead of having a red eye, which you would expect, she had one red eye and one white eye.”
Retinoblastoma is a rare form of cancer which affects the retina of children predominantly under the age of six years.
There are around 50 cases a year in the UK and it is identified by the white glow from the eye and often results in a lack of vision.
The tell-tale snap was taken as Terry holidayed with Rose and her parents – his daughter Suzannah, 36, and husband Youssef Elhitmi, 38.
The family booked Rose into hospital as soon as they returned home to Crediton, Devon, and the diagnosis was made.
Suzannah said: “My husband, Youssef, had been taking some pictures and we kept seeing this white reflective object in Rose’s right eye. It was in every picture.
“We made an appointment to see the doctor as soon as we got home and were then referred to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
“After that came the diagnosis which is when everything became a bit of a blur.
“Hearing that your six-month old child has cancer just turns your life upside down.”
Suzannah said Rosie has since spent most of her early years in hospital but she was inspired by her daughter’s bravery.
She added: “When she hasn’t been in hospital she’s often been poorly at home and unable to do the kind of things that other children do.
“We’ve tried to keep life as normal as possible for her but she was so susceptible to infections that we had to limit her activities.
“But her resilience never ceases to amaze us.
“She’s a strong, independent, resourceful young lady, always positive and happy if a bit headstrong! We are so very, very proud of her.
“Rose has been through so much more than most children her age yet she is kind, friendly, playful and helpful.
“Everyone loves her wherever she goes and she’s a pure delight to be around.”
Because the family spotted the cancer early doctors were able to successfully treat the left eye.
But the tumour in her right eye, in which she has no vision, will remain for the rest of her life because of its precarious position.
Rose still has to undergo regular trips to London where specialist eye doctors monitor her progress to ensure that the cancer, which is in remission, hasn’t returned.
In recognition of her outstanding effort and bravery she was given a medal and named a CHECT Champion by the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) this week.