Charlotte Salisbury, 33, from Lancaster, shared a photo of her daughter Felicity’s eyes, which showed an unusual white reflection in one pupil, which was caused by Retinoblastoma, a condition that affects 50-60 children in the UK per year.
Salisbury’s post was seen by Taomi Sharlotte, 20, who recognised the “cat’s eye” symptom in her own daughter Lydia, who is now 20 months old, and took her to the doctor.
Despite the diagnosis not coming quick enough to save Lydia’s left eye, it was enough to stop the cancer from spreading - saving her life.
“If we had not seen the post we would have never known to look out for it - we are so grateful,” said Sharlotte, from Leeds.
“We had seen her post on Facebook two weeks after we were on holiday. When we got home we took her to the GP,” Sharlotte said.
“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,” Sharlotte continued.
“She got the all-clear two weeks ago, it has not spread. We are just waiting on the results from further tests.”
Salisbury’s daughter Felicity is now one and she is also currently recovering from treatment. She is responding relatively well to chemotherapy.
Felicity was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma at nine months old.
She was born with the condition, but it went undiscovered until in August 2017, family friend Laura Power, a student midwife, spotted the tell-tale reflection in her eye and told Salisbury that Felicity’s condition needed to be examined.
“I had no idea at the time what it was, she showed no signs of illness. She was a happy normal baby,” said Salisbury.
“The only thing I picked up on was I noticed when she started crawling she would bump into things.
“When we were first told she had Retinoblastoma it just felt like the world had been torn apart.”
After a series of appointments doctors revealed that Felicity had six aggressive tumours - three in each eye.
Salisbury wanted to make other parents aware of the signs of the rare cancer after Felicity made a recovery, so she took to Facebook to detail the “cat’s eye” symptoms of Felicity’s cancer diagnosis and her post was was shared 65,000 times.
“At the beginning when Felicity was first diagnosed we just wanted to keep everything private,” Salisbury explained.
“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 you wasn’t for your post I would never have noticed this on my little girl’.”
For more information on the symptoms of retinoblastoma, go to www.chect.org.uk