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Mother saves child's life after posting about her daughter's eye cancer on Facebook

'If we had not seen the post we would have never known to look out for it'

Rachel Hosie
Thursday 28 December 2017 12:47 GMT
Lydia Sharlotte
Lydia Sharlotte (Taomi Sharlotte /

A mother who posted about her daughter’s rare eye cancer on Facebook saved another child’s life after her mother saw the post.

33-year-old Charlotte Salisbury’s daughter Felicity was born with Retinoblastoma, which only affects 40-50 children in the UK per year, but it went undiagnosed for nine months.

What Charlotte thought was just a glint in her daughter’s eye turned out to be six aggressive tumours.

(Facebook (Facebook)

To raise awareness amongst other parents of the telltale signs of the cancer after Felicity had recovered, mum-of-two Charlotte posted on Facebook about the “cat’s eye” symptoms of the cancer.

One woman who saw Charlotte’s post was 20-year-old Taomi Sharlotte, from Leeds, and it led to Taomi’s daughter Lydia being diagnosed with the same cancer.

Lydia Sharlotte in hospital (SWNS)

Sadly, the diagnosis wasn’t quick enough to save Lydia’s left eye, but doctors successfully stopped the cancer spreading, which saved Lydia’s life.

“We had seen her post on Facebook two weeks after we were on holiday,” Taomi said. “When we got home we took her to the GP. It turned out she had the worst form of Intraocular Retinoblastoma in her left eye, it’s called Type E.

“It means the tumour is very large or has other features that mean there is almost no chance the eye can be saved. The only treatment she could have was to have the eye removed. She had it done a week later.

“She got the all-clear two weeks ago, it has not spread. We are just waiting on the results from further tests.

“If we had not seen the post we would have never known to look out for it - we are so grateful to Charlotte.”

Charlotte only noticed there was something wrong herself when the flash from a camera created a “cat’s eye” appearance on her daughter.

She didn’t think much of it until a family friend and student midwife, Laura Power, spotted the eye and said Felicity should be examined.

Felicity Salisbury (SWNS)

After a series of appointments, Charlotte’s world was “torn apart” when doctors revealed that the Felicity had six aggressive tumours - three in each eye.

“I had no idea at the time what it was, she showed no signs of illness,” Charlotte said. “She was a happy normal baby.

“The only thing I picked up on was I noticed when she started crawling she would bump into things.”

Charlotte says Felicity is now going through chemotherapy and is responding well to the treatment.

“At the beginning when Felicity was first diagnosed we just wanted to keep everything private,” Charlotte added. “But I wanted to tell people what to look out for and to share what had happened to Felicity as it is such a rare cancer.

“When I put the post up on my Facebook page I just thought it would be amongst my friends but it was shared over 65,000 times.

“About a month later I was contacted by Taomi who said ‘if it wasn’t for your post I would never have noticed this on my little girl’.”

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