Retinoblastoma survivor Katie Peller, 12, and her friends got 100 people to take part in an eye patch day, raising vital awareness of retinoblastoma as well as valuable funds for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust…

My name is Katie, I’m 12 and I go to The Westgate School, Winchester.

When I was eight years old, I was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. I guess I must have been scared, but to be honest everything happened so quickly and efficiently that there just wasn’t time to worry.

Also, I think I was a bit pleased that someone finally knew what was wrong with me. The doctors at the Royal London Hospital were, and still are, great – and I reckon they managed my operation and medicines to follow so well that the worst parts of the experience were the blood test I had to have the day before I had my right eye removed and not doing sport for six weeks while my socket healed.

I’m pleased to say that no one has ever bullied me or been nasty because of my eye. In fact, the most anyone’s ever shown is respect and a little curiosity. At school now every pupil in my year (240) knows about my eye, and so do most of my teachers.

This means that they all understand I need my own textbook, why I wear sports goggles and so on.

Fundraising inspiration

When I was in year six, my two friends and I decided that we wanted to do some fundraising for CHECT. We organised a general cake/bits and bobs sale. It went really well and we raised approximately £300.

A year on, and I wanted to do more fundraising. This time I wanted it to raise lots of awareness as well as raise some money. So I needed to think of an idea that made people stop and think about what it is like to live with retinoblastoma, and also so that it was obvious to others what we were doing.

After some thought I came up with the idea that I could get as many people as possible to wear bright eye patches for a day, and be sponsored for doing it.

After enlisting the help of two of my friends, Isla and Elizabeth, we went to the Charity Group at my school and explained our idea. Mrs Mellor, who is in charge of the group, loved the idea, so we set about making plans.

I began making eye patches in 10 bright colours, and we all started to plan a presentation to do in front of our whole year group. After the go ahead from our head of year, we pitched the presentation. It went really well!

That afternoon during tutor time, we began to go around the tutor groups finding out how many people wanted to get involved. Overall about 100 people took part including four teachers! However, no one I know of was able to keep the patches on for the whole day, which just goes to show how hard they found it!

I am pleased to say that we raised about £611, which included a very generous donation of £120 from the school, over double what we raised last time!

Well done to Katie and everyone who took part – what a fab achievement.

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