Little Siri’s brave eye cancer fight

Chris Blackabee and Severine Renard from Mexborough with daughter Siri who has the rare retinoblastoma, they too are both blind and are raising money with Vision Express
Chris Blackabee and Severine Renard from Mexborough with daughter Siri who has the rare retinoblastoma, they too are both blind and are raising money with Vision Express
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A blind couple have spoken of their daughter’s brave fight with a rare form of eye cancer.

Parents Chris Blackabee and Serevine Renard were devastated when their first child Siri May was born with retinoblastoma.

The same genetic condition had claimed the sight of her mother and also put Siri May at an increased risk of other cancers.

The 15-month-old quickly developed tumours in her eye and had to undergo an intense 18-week course of chemotherapy at Sheffield Children’s Hospital before her first birthday.

While Siri May still has full vision in her right eye, her left one was damaged and she remains under close watch from medics.

But the inspirational girl has taken her ordeal in her stride, said Chris, 44, and Serevine, 40, of Mexborough, - and the pair ‘could not be more proud’ of her.

Serevine, who was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at six months, said: “It was very hard knowing that my baby had a 50 per cent chance of inheriting my condition.

“I had to have my first eye removed when I was six months old and my second when I was 19 months. Then when I was growing up I had bladder cancer.

“When we found out Siri had retinoblastoma it was difficult, but the treatment is much more advanced than it was when I was growing up.”

Chris, who was born blind, added: “We knew there was a risk but I thought that if she did have problems with her sight it is no reason she can’t lead a happy and full life.”

Th doting parents take their daughter to specialists in London every six weeks for eye examinations.

But at home the couple have adapted to life with a growing baby without additional help.

They attach bells to their daughter’s clothes to ensure she never ventures too far from their side and Siri May has also just started nursery.

Chris, a former bank business manager, said: “Siri is just like any other 17-month-old, she’s progressing as she should and is a happy, bouncy girl.”

The family has shared their story to raise awareness for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, a charity which has provided them with support.

Vision Express stores across the UK, including Doncaster, are helping to raise money for the organisation.