Eye cancer sufferer leads charity drive

Alison Scattergood (seated centre) with some of the students
Alison Scattergood (seated centre) with some of the students

A LECTURER who suffered cancer as a child is helping her students raise money for charity.

Alison Scattergood, 39, was just six weeks old when she was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer, retinoblastoma.

She was successfully treated for the condition at Sunderland Eye Infirmary.

Alison, from Peterlee, is now helping a team of students at East Durham College plan a number of 25-themed activities to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (Chect).

Chect is the only charity dedicated to providing support to children and families in the UK who have been affected by retinoblastoma, a rapidly-developing cancer that affects the cells of the retina.

To mark the anniversary, the trust has set itself the challenging task of raising £250,000 during the year. Alison, a lecturer in barbering at the Peterlee-based college, said: “Obviously, I was personally affected by the disease and it also put a lot of stress on to my parents too.

“Growing up, I was also very conscious that it could have affected my own children and that’s one of the main reasons I’m keen to keep involved with the charity, to help raise awareness amongst new parents on how to spot the condition. It’s vital to catch it as early as possible as it can be life-threatening.

“I have been overwhelmed by the response from students and staff who want to get involved.”

Starting on Monday, April 16, the college will be running Chect Week, doing as many money-making activities as possible.

Joy Felgate, chief executive at the trust, welcomed the college’s fund-raising drive and said: “It is wonderful to have such fantastic support from the staff and students.

“The events they are running will go a long way, not only to helping us educate people about the signs and symptoms of eye cancer in children, but also to help us provide vital support to those families who have been affected by it.”