Heath Elkington – A Dad’s Story

Saskia was diagnosed a couple of weeks after her first birthday. She went to hospital and had lots of tests. The advice was that they needed to enucleate the eye. It came out pretty quick.

When she was diagnosed I took a couple of months off work. I was lucky that my work could accommodate that. Because of the nature of the cancer it all happened very fast.

It is very difficult at first to come to terms with her losing the eye. These days the eyes are so good. People can’t really notice. You worry about people teasing her but that doesn’t happen. When she got her new eye, her “magic” eye, people would say, “which is the real one?”

As a parent your job is to protect the child. In these circumstances to help them involves watching them suffer. You’ve got to watch them go through surgery, needles and being poked and prodded. It’s very stressful. It certainly puts other things in perspective.

We made contact with every other family we could find with bilateral retinoblastoma. They were all happy to talk to us and it really helped. We’d be pleased to talk to other people who ring with the same condition.

As told to Julia Sutton. Reprinted with permission from Heath Elkington. You may link to this story, but please do not copy or otherwise circulate.