In 1934, Fiona Fairlie was only 18 months old. Her father was playing with her one afternoon and made a discovery that would forever change her life. There was very little information distributed in those days about childhood cancer, especially about the very rare form of eye cancer known as Retinoblastoma. Nor was their information about the Glow that could occur in the eye when a child has this rare cancer. Fiona’s father instinctively knew something was terribly wrong when he held her up to the light and saw a strange glow in Fiona’s eye. He rushed her to the doctor explaining what he noticed. After an examination, his fears were confirmed. They were told that Fiona had Retinoblastoma and that her eye would need to be removed immediately to save her life. The enucleation was performed two days later. Fiona was cancer free and went on to live a fairly normal adolescence. However, she says it was not until she was fitted with a prosthetic eye at the age of 20 that she really started to “live”. Fiona’s parents were incredibly supportive of her and strongly reinforced that she was as capable as any person with vision in both eyes. They encouraged her to tackle any endeavor she wanted to try. Fiona did just that. She got her driver’s license, danced, cycled, and became an excellent swimmer. At the age of 84, Fiona still enjoys all of these activities. She is very active, healthy, fit and most of all still the confident lady her parents helped to develop. The loss of vision has not held her back. Fiona wants parents to know just how important it is to encourage their children and to instill confidence in them. She hopes that with love and support all of the children we find together will grow up to enjoy wonderful lives.
UPDATE: Fiona is now 86 years old and still incredibly healthy and happy and enthusiastic about life! She is loving her retirement staying busy with dancing, swimming and walking. Fiona has a very large family that provides so much love and joy in her life. Fiona is still very determined to share her story as often as possible to spread awareness about the Glow in the hopes other families are informed and get their children the care they need.