Rushden cancer survivor saved by Specsavers visit
A girl whose cancer was only spotted after a trip to Specsavers will open their newly-located Rushden branch this weekend.
Brave ten-year-old Shannon Kilrane will cut the ribbon at the new High Street unit two years after they helped diagnose a rare form of cancer on her eyelid - after they have previously spotted a condition and saved her big sister's sight.
In 2017 Shannon's eyelid would intermittently swell up and go back down again. At first her mum, Michelle, suspected an allergy and changed their washing powders but when the problem persisted she decided to take her to the opticians.
Shannon was seen by the store’s optometrist and store director Andrew Darby. After an examination he found a small lump on one of Shannon’s eyelids and referred her to see an eye specialist at Kettering General Hospital before she was then referred on to the Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Michelle said: "It was all incredibly scary. No-one was able to confirm if it was cancer or not and it wasn’t until the results of the biopsy, just 10 days before Christmas, that we got the news we really dreaded hearing."
The doctors confirmed that Shannon was suffering from rhabdomyosarcoma – a malignant form of soft tissue cancer. Unable to fully remove the tumour, Shannon had to undergo nine rounds of chemotherapy and was also sent for proton therapy in America because it wasn't available in the UK.
Eight weeks after returning from the US, Shannon received the all clear
Michelle said: "We were immensely proud with how Shannon dealt with this all – she just got on with it.
"It really brought home the importance of eye examinations again though. Our eldest daughter, Leone, also had a sight threatening condition, intracranial hypertension, diagnosed as a result of a sight test with Specsavers when she was eight too.
"So we know just how important seeing your optician is - in our case they helped save one daughter’s sight and the other’s life."
Shannon will now be the VIP at the official opening of the new Specsavers at 48-50 High Street on Saturday (November 16).
She will cut the ribbon just before 9am with face painting from 10am and a performance from the Belcanto choir from 10.30am.
Fundraising on the day will be in aid of The Brain Tumour Charity.
Store director Andrew Darby said: "The Kilrane family have been customers for several years now and we admire their attitude and approach, particularly Shannon who was so brave through her illness.
"Stories like Shannon’s and Leone’s are quite rare, but what they do highlight is how an eye examination isn’t just about your vision or specs – and how vital they are to your overall health.
"We encourage everyone to visit their optician every two years, unless they are experiencing any problems like Shannon, in which case they should make an appointment right away."