A GRAYS youngster has received a prestigious award in recognition of the support he has given his sister as she battles against a rare form of cancer.
In February 2014 Iga Bialoskorska was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancer which affects the retina of children predominantly under six years old.
Iga – who turned five on Monday, 1 October – was only five months old at the time. Doctors discovered she had tumours in both of her eyes. Unfortunately Iga’s right eye had to be removed in order to save her life. She now wears an artificial eye and continues to undergo check-ups at The Royal London Hospital to ensure that the cancer has not returned
Throughout the treatment and subsequent ongoing recovery process Iga’s brother, Kacper Bialoskorski, showed courage and maturity way beyond his years as he helped not only Iga but his entire family through the ordeal.
In recognition of his outstanding efforts Kacper, who will be seven years old on Sunday, 11 November, has now been named a CHECT Champion by the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.
CHECT Champion awards aim to recognise the courage, resilience and patience shown by all children affected by retinoblastoma (often referred to as Rb for short) throughout treatment and beyond.
“Kacper is the best brother Iga could possibly have,” says their father, Piotr Bialoskorski.
“When she was in hospital he was very upset and wanted to know when she would be home. Since then, he has always been there for her. He doesn’t like to play with dolls, but when Iga asks him to he always agrees. When other children ask why her eyes are different, Kacper will try to explain.
“I’m very proud of both of them, but I’m especially proud of Kacper. He’s nearly seven, but he behaves much older than that. Every evening Kacper prays for Iga. He is so helpful and caring. He really deserves this award.”
Kacper has already received his CHECT Champion medal and a framed certificate in recognition of the support he has given his sister.
CHECT has three vital missions – to offer one-to-one support for families and individuals affected by retinoblastoma, to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms to prompt earlier diagnosis, and to help fund research into the disease.
“Every child affected by Rb faces huge disruption, upset and distressing treatment not to mention follow-on check-ups,” says Patrick Tonks, chief executive of CHECT.
“We are delighted to recognise the courage, resilience and resourcefulness shown by Kacper through Iga’s treatment and beyond. He is an extremely deserving champion!”
* Retinoblastoma (Rb) is a rare form of cancer which affects the retina of children predominantly under the age of six years.
* Statistically it affects 1:20,000 live births each year. This can also be expressed as 50 cases a year or about one child a week in the UK. It represents 3% of childhood cancers in the UK.
* The signs of retinoblastoma include the appearance of a whitish light bouncing out of the eye, like a ‘cat’s eye’ It is often noticed in photographs where flash photography has been used.