Girl with eye cancer saved by flashing toothbrush
A little girl with a rare eye cancer was saved thanks to her TOOTHBRUSH – and the youngster is now looking forward to being officially cancer free.
Little Katie Lolley was just two when she was brushing her teeth with a £3 toothbrush from Tesco, which has a flashing light to show how long children should use it.
But mum Rebecca noticed a strange reflection in Katie’s eye – which turned out to be a rare retinoblastoma, a deadly and fast-growing eye cancer which can treble in size in just 10 days.
Rebecca rushed Katie to the doctors, who caught the tumour just in time to save Katie’s life.
Medics performed an emergency op to remove Katie’s eye and now, five years on, Katie is cancer free and campaigning to raise awareness of eye cancer ahead of getting the official all-clear.
Rebecca, 34, from Coventry, West Mids, said: “If it wasn’t for that flashing toothbrush, we may never have seen the tumour – not until it was too late anyway.
“The toothbrush saved Katie’s life.
“We got the brush because Katie thought it looked fun – it has a bear called Billy, and a light that flashes for 60 seconds when you press the button on the front, so kids know how long to brush for.
“When Katie first used it we turned out the bathroom lights so Katie could see the flashing lights – she loved it, she thought it was really cool.
“But when I looked more closely at her face in the dark, I could see a weird white reflection in one eye that was lit up by the flashing light.
“When I saw that we decided to take her straight to hospital.
“We were devastated by the diagnosis and it’s horrible that Katie had to lose an eye – but we were incredibly lucky that we caught the tumour when we did, Katie didn’t have to go through any chemo or other treatment.
“We really want to warn other parents to be on the look-out for this cancer – it spreads so fast and is often fatal.
“We’re just so relieved we bought that toothbrush and spotted the tumour when we did – we feel so lucky and grateful that Katie is still with us.”
Brave Katie, seven, now has a prosthetic eye and the courageous youngster is an ambassador for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT).
Along with mum Rebecca and dad Karl, 36, Katie helps campaign to raise awareness of eye cancer on behalf of the charity.
Rebecca, a school catering assistant, added: “We’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity to promote and support a fantastic charity, which does so much to help children just like Katie.”