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See The World Through Rosie's Eyes In Childhood Eye Cancer Trust Ad

Caroline Aherne narrates spot created by Changing Horizons

The Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) has launched an online video campaign to raise awareness of the impact of retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer that typically affects young children.

Caroline Aherne, the writer, actor and comedian, has provided a voiceover for the film. Caroline and her brother were both diagnosed with retinoblastoma as babies and the disease is thought to have contributed to her recent contraction of lung cancer, for which she has received recent treatment.

CHECT’s medical advisor, Mr Ashwin Reddy, consultant paediatric ophthalmologist at the Royal London Hospital (run by the Barts Health NHS Trust) and Moorfields Eye Hospital said those with the heritable type of Rb, like Aherne, have an increased risk of second primary cancers: “Patients surviving this form of Rb have an increased risk of developing other forms of cancer, including lung and bladder cancer, later in life. It is imperative that adults who have had Rb should be seen regularly in an adult oncology clinic.”

Created by the agency Changing Horizons, the video tells the story of Rosie, a young girl who has retinoblastoma. It explains the symptoms of the disease and provides tips to parents on how to diagnose, hopefully making them realise how subtle the signs can be as well as the need to seek help immediately if they spot anything unusual.

The film will also remind health professionals of the signs of the condition and the need to take parents’ concerns seriously so that treatment is not delayed. Two different endings for the film have been created, one focused on parents and the other on health professionals.

CHECT hopes that the video, which will launch on CHECT’s YouTube channel, will reach a global audience through sharing on social media, raising the profile of the disease and its own activities while driving traffic to its website.

Joy Felgate, the chief executive of CHECT, said: “We are very grateful to Caroline Aherne, and the production team at Changing Horizons for donating their time and expertise to help produce and distribute this film. We are sure Caroline’s involvement will have a huge impact on the success of this campaign to raise awareness of the signs of retinoblastoma. We were very sorry to hear of Caroline’s lung cancer and wish her a full recovery.”

She added: “This generosity has provided the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust with an invaluable opportunity to help warn parents and educate health professionals around the globe. We are hoping this message will prompt concerned parents to seek help sooner, offering their child the best opportunity of saving their sight, their eyes and possibly even their life. We know many parents unfortunately experience unnecessary delays in accessing treatment and hope this will help encourage health professionals to take parents’ concerns seriously, even if the symptoms are very subtle.”

Changing Horizons said: “We were introduced to CHECT by one of our clients and it seemed they really needed help in raising awareness around retinoblastoma. Every year we aim to offer our services free of charge to a charity of our choice and this year CHECT seemed the perfect choice. They gave us complete creative freedom to develop an idea and we’re really pleased with the results."