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My Story - Charlene Williams

Jacob Wright playing in the sand

Jacob was diagnosed with Rb in August 2013, when he was just 12 weeks old.

As with every parent who finds out their baby has something wrong, our world came crashing down. He had his eye removed a week later, and was to start chemotherapy two weeks after that. In such a short space of time we had to learn about general anaesthetics, port-a-caths, chemo, blood counts, artificial eyes and laser therapy.

I just wanted to scream.

Being a new mum and having your three-month-old diagnosed with cancer was all too much.  My sister Sophie told me about the Carrots Nightwalk just after Jacob's diagnosis and we signed up straightaway. I didn't have a clue what I was signing myself up for, I just jumped at the chance of a distraction, something else to focus on while the rest of me was falling to pieces.

My mum and best friend Adele signed up with us and we went on a fundraising frenzy. I hadn't told anyone about Jacob and what was happening, so announcing it through sharing our Just Giving page was a quick and easy way to do it and really get people interested and sponsoring us.

There were obviously lots of questions and people asking about Rb and how else they could help and going over it to everyone was tiring, but I just went into autopilot. It was really important to me for Jacob to be surrounded by positive, happy parents, the same ones he had known for the first three months of his life. We just got on with the treatments and hospital trips as though they were completely normal and that's what our life was.

Charlene Williams with friends at the Carrots Nightwalk in 2013

People's generosity was absolutely unbelievable. I expected people to donate one or two pounds each and raise around £200 in total. When I woke up the next day and we had already received over £500 in sponsors, I almost had a heart attack. It was so emotional reading everyone's messages they would leave but it really made me see how amazing people can be. The sponsors kept on coming and by the day of the walk we were up to over £6000.

The walk was really good fun and I met some amazing people who really helped me see that life does go on and you don't have to let Rb ruin your life. I have stayed in touch with a couple of mums and look forward to seeing everyone again at the walk this year.  We have still got a really long way to go before Jacob will be given the all clear but fundraising, raising awareness and chatting to other families going through the same really does make it a little bit easier.

You can read more about Jacob's journey through Charlene's blog, Through Jacob's Eyes at

Carrots nightwalk logoIf you'd like to help raise funds for CHECT like Charlene, you could register to take part in this year's Carrots Nightwalk here.

Running Events

Running Events

Bupa Great North Run  Sunday 7 September 2014 – 13.1 miles


The Bupa Great North Run has now grown to a record 55,000 accepted entrants from over 100,000 applicants in 2012.   CHECT have 5 places in the 2014 run.

Places for this iconic run are at a premium so if you are interested  in applying for a place then drop me   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. an email explaining why you’d like to do it, your connection to CHECT and how you would go about raising sponsorship!    

Whatever your reasons for signing up to the Great North Run for CHECT to complete a personal challenge or as part of the journey towards a healthier lifestyle, the Bupa Great North Run is the ultimate mass participation running experience!


London Marathon

Many of our members take part in running events all over the UK, from 5k to full marathons, let us know if you'd like to take up the challenge and we can help you find the right event.

Click here to see our fabulous Marathon Runners of 2014

For the more ambitious athlete we have a limited number of Gold Bond London Marathon places available each year. Contact Fiona at CHECT on 020 7377 5578.


SuperHero Run Sunday 18 May Regents Park

Whether you are a serious runner or enjoy a leisurely jog, or like to run with your little ones in their buggy and make a fun day of it  then this is the event for you. There is a choice of 5k or 10k "run". CHECT have 20 places with 10 already taken. £10 registration fee secures your place and all participants are asked to raise £100 for CHECT. All registered runners get the choice of a free  superHero costume on the day. Click on the here for the online regisration.

Vision Express raises £105k for CHECT

Left to right are Bryan Steel, Vision Express Ride4 Sight fundraisers Paul Gant, Nicole Goss, Darren Cole, Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson,Telford store manager Sarah Hatton, Sherril Lewis, Worcester store manager, CHECT patron and Paralympian Darren Harris, and CHECT CEO Joy Felgate.


CHECT has received a £105,000 boost from Vision Express, after a year-long fundraising drive to mark the 25th anniversary of the optical retailer.

Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson announced the fundraising tally and presented a cheque to Joy Felgate, chief executive of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) in Nottingham on February 24, 2014.

The donation was the result of a major fundraising initiative which brought together more than 4,000 staff across its UK-wide store network to raise money to help CHECT support families and individuals affected by the rare form of childhood eye cancer retinoblastoma.

A national focus of celebrations was a 200-mile fundraising cycle called 'Ride4Sight', which was tackled by a team of 40 volunteers, peddling from the company's first store in Gateshead to the Nottingham head office. Four-time former Olympic cycling medallist Bryan Steel helped train the team and completed the journey riding tandem with Paralympian and CHECT patron Darren Harris. Both were present to celebrate the donation being officially made to the charity.

Accepting the cheque, Joy Felgate said: "This fundraising total is a truly amazing result and is testament to the hard work of the Vision Express team.  It will make a huge difference to the vital help and support we can give to those whose lives have been affected by this life-threatening condition.

"CHECT has been the nominated charity of Vision Express since 2010 and over that time the relationship has gone from strength to strength. We're thrilled that Vision Express has committed to building on this fundraising further in the next 12 months and will continue to help educate others about retinoblastoma."

Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson said: "We chose to mark our 25-year trading milestone in a meaningful way, and we're delighted that we've smashed our fundraising target and can present a cheque for over £105,000 to the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.

"I'm extremely proud that employees across the company have rolled up their sleeves to plan fundraisers, hold raffles, dress up in costumes and cycle through wind and rain, in a combined effort to raise money and enable us to make this donation.

"And we aren't stopping there. Over the next 12 months we've set ourselves targets to raise even more, and we've established a dedicated charity committee to drive fundraising forward within the business so we can continue to make a difference."

Vision Express was the first optician in the UK to adopt a company-wide protocol alerting all store staff to the signs of retinoblastoma in a bid to reduce delays in diagnosis.

Many thanks to the dozens of CHECT ambassadors who have helped and continue to support Vision Express events up and down the country.

How your company can help

Eye cancer will alter the lives of not just the child affected, but parents, siblings, extended family, schools, friends and the wider community.  So although rare, this cancer will have touched a very wide audience and the sporadic nature means it could affect anyone in the future.  This is why your staff, customers and clients will be able to relate to our cause.

Charity partnerships

Let us help you to fulfil your corporate social responsibility and marketing objectives through an extensive and varied range of fundraising activities.  Join in with a World Record Breaking skydive or create some amazing cakes to sale we will work with you to develop an exciting calendar of events to engage everyone in your team.  Linking in a communication plan we will create a partnership, offering excellent fundraising, PR and team building opportunities

Give as you Earn

Give As You Earn sometimes known as Payroll Giving allows anyone in the company to make a donation quickly and easily directly from their salary.  As the donation is deducted from the gross amount, it means a £5 donation costs the donor £4.

If your not already signed up to this scheme, contact the Charities Aid Foundation, on 01732 520000 or visit their website.


Achieve great brand awareness amongst your customers, and our supporters, by sponsoring one of our exciting projects or events.  Our plans include an exclusive art exhibition, members’ weekend and an open water swim in Windermere.  Or we can work with you to create your own sponsored event.

Cause Related Marketing

The results of a survey run by Business in the Community showed the important place of CRM.

86% of consumers are more likely to buy a product that is associated with a cause or issue;

73% of consumers would switch brands; and

64% of consumers feel that cause related marketing should be a standard part of a company's business practice.

Together we can create a CRM partnership that will connect with customers, gain a great presence in the community and engage with new audiences, whilst raising funds and awareness to fight eye cancer.

Pro bono support/gifts in kind

Your skills and expertise could help CHECT reduce costs and support more families that so desperately need our help.  Whether it is design and print, training and skill sharing, a powerful introduction or a one off gift any of these has a considerable value to our team.


Volunteering opportunities


Does your company offer staff a volunteering day/s each year? - Here are some ideas about how you could use yours to help CHECT.

Join a cheering squad at the Virgin London Marathon

Bag Packing at you nearest supermarket is a great way to raise funds and raise awareness.  You would need to get a few of your colleagues involved as well as a minimum group of 10 is required.


Arrange a bucket collection at your local supermarket or station or ask local businesses and shops if they would have a collection tin on their counter for the year.


What ever you chose to do, CHECT staff will be there with support and advice all the way through.


To discuss any of the above, or your own ideas, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

GCS Recruitment Specialists


The staff at the London office braved the elements on a cold and wet January morning to do a bucket collection at Mansion House tube station.  They had an incredibly successful day, even roping in a member of staff from London Underground, adding to their target of raising £30,000 for CHECT by the end of April.  Well done to Leah and the team for all their hard work.

GCS Bucket Collection GCS Bucket Collection 2 GCS Bucket Collection 3


Christmas Capers

GCS Recruitment added a further £600 to their Charity of the Year target for CHECT.  The staff held a dress down day, on reception a Christmas gift wrapping service was on offer and at the Christmas party a raffle was held all in aid of CHECT.


Pedal Power

GCS Cycle Challenge


Staff from the Reading, London and Ireland offices cycled from 9am to 6pm every day over a period of three days to complete 685 miles in total, from their most southern client to their most northern client.  Seventy five members of staff took part and cycled however many miles they wished.

More Articles...

  1. Become a professional member
  2. Art 4 Eyes - get involved and help raise awareness
  3. LV
  4. Kerrie Campbell
  5. Bren Freeman
  6. Vision Express supporting the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
  7. Book your place at our young people's conference
  8. A new Rb gene
  9. Our news
  10. Rb dad's band launches video of CHECT charity single
  11. Socket issues article
  12. Members' conference venue confirmed
  13. Wimbledon Auction & Supper
  14. Sign up now for the Carrots Nightwalk 2014
  15. Become an ambassador for CHECT
  16. Marathon Runners 2013
  17. Nominate your child for a CHECT Champion award
  18. Julie from CHECT tackles 140-mile fundraising ride
  19. Read Emma Saint's inspirational story of her challenge for CHECT
  20. Vision Express
  21. Gordon Ramsay joins our wristband gallery of fame and raise awareness of Rb!
  22. Jane Harrison
  23. Association of Optometrists Children's Eye Health Campaign
  24. Lottie Wilson
  25. CHECT's patrons
  26. What a weekend to remember - report back from CHECT's 25th party
  27. Download our monthly e-news bulletin
  28. Order your back copies of CHECT's InFocus newsletter
  29. Current campaigns
  30. What causes white eye in a photo?
  31. Jobs and opportunities
  32. Christina Rozeik
  33. Georga Gorrell
  34. Pascal Holtz
  35. Tanisha Kalra
  36. Report back on our meet-up at Eureka!
  37. CHECT campaign declared a success!
  38. Genetic counselling
  39. About Genetics
  40. 25th anniversary
  41. Great North Run
  42. Virgin London Marathon 2014
  43. Epidemiological studies of retinoblastoma - final report
  44. The Memorandum of Association
  45. Reporting back from our busiest Annual Members' Day ever!
  46. Accessibility
  47. Maria Tattersall, aged 23
  48. Miguel Pais, aged 15
  49. My story by Christopher Payne, aged 6
  50. Media Marvel
  51. Kelsey's WellChild award
  52. The Paddling Partners - Sandra & Debs
  53. Ocular implants
  54. Richard aged 8
  55. Miguel, aged 11
  56. Danielle aged 10
  57. My story by Isla Firth, age 5
  58. Elaine Birtwistle
  59. Maria Tattersall
  60. Pauline Dawson
  61. Kaye Garwood
  62. Grant Rees
  63. Victoria Payne
  64. Carole Ellison
  65. Ben Revill
  66. Ingrid Svarcina
  67. Veronica Street
  68. Jo Trevett
  69. Justine Duffy
  70. Ann Young
  71. Bill Cooper
  72. Kellie Ascheri
  73. John Ramm
  74. Belinda Plowman
  75. Ronnie Beard
  76. Samantha Rouse
  77. Our trustees
  78. Partners
  79. Press cuttings
  80. Share your story
  81. Notes to the editor
  82. Latest news
  83. News archive
  84. What might happen next
  85. Who to see
  86. Annual reports and accounts
  87. Our staff
  88. Our history
  89. What we do
  90. Support an event
  91. Supporters Form
  92. Professional Form
  93. Why me?
  94. Site map
  95. Accessibility
  96. Privacy
  97. Legal
  98. Contact Us
  99. Cryotherapy and laser
  100. Chemotherapy/Intra-arterial chemo
  101. Radiotherapy & treatments prior to 1990
  102. Screening your child
  103. Planning a baby
  104. Genetic testing
  105. Fun stuff and links
  106. Starting school/nursery
  107. My special eye
  108. Coming to clinic
  109. Story time
  110. Radioactive plaque
  111. Radiotherapy
  112. Enucleation
  113. Intra-arterial chemo
  114. Chemotherapy
  115. Laser
  116. Cryotherapy
  117. My treatment
  118. What is Rb?
  119. My story
  120. What is Rb?
  121. Extras and links
  122. Into adulthood
  123. School/college/work
  124. My story
  125. Who can I talk to?
  126. Radioactive plaque
  127. Radiotherapy
  128. Enucleation
  129. Intra-arterial chemo
  130. Chemotherapy
  131. Laser
  132. Cryotherapy
  133. My treatment
  134. Why me?
  135. test
  136. Media
  137. Become a member
  138. Spreading the word
  139. Adults after Rb
  140. Supporting us
  141. Rb & me (for ages 12-18)
  142. Rb & me (for ages 7-11)
  143. Rb & me (for ages 1-6)
  144. Research
  145. Upcoming events
  146. Looking after yourself
  147. Fun stuff and links
  148. Who can I talk to?
  149. My story
  150. At school
  151. Radioactive-plaque
  152. Radiotherapy
  153. Enucleation
  154. Intra-arterial chemo
  155. Chemotherapy
  156. Laser
  157. Cryotherapy
  158. My treatment
  159. Clinic
  160. Why me?
  161. What is Rb?
  162. Volunteering agreement
  163. Volunteer
  164. Get involved
  165. Legacy
  166. Gift Aid
  167. Give As You Earn
  168. Methods of donating
  169. Upload your event
  170. Online shopping websites
  171. Cards, shirts, pins & things
  172. Fundraising in school
  173. Collecting tins
  174. Fundraising ideas
  175. Family fundraising
  176. Challenge events
  177. Our corporate supporters
  178. Employee fundraising
  179. Working with businesses
  180. How your support can help
  181. Fundraise
  182. Useful links
  183. Meet-ups
  184. My treatment
  185. Links to other literature
  186. Scientific Advisory Committee
  187. Application form
  188. How to apply for funding
  189. CHECT projects under way
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  191. Our research philosophy/strategy
  192. Send us your event
  193. Fundraising
  194. Awareness campaigns
  195. Families in the news
  196. Schools/nurseries
  197. Community days
  198. Getting information
  199. CHECT for you
  200. Staying safe
  201. Second primary tumours
  202. Long term effects of treatment
  203. Genetics
  204. Translations
  205. International Rb support groups
  206. Who to contact for the treatment in UK
  207. Enquiries from overseas
  208. Information for professionals
  209. Useful links
  210. Resources
  211. Information
  212. Grandparents
  213. Beyond Rb
  214. Visually impaired
  215. Unilateral
  216. Bilateral
  217. Enucleation
  218. Radiotherapy
  219. Intra-arterial chemo
  220. Chemotherapy
  221. My story
  222. Visits from medical professionals
  223. Grants for equipment
  224. Statementing
  225. Special educational needs and visual impairment
  226. Caring for my child's eyes in school
  227. Time out for treatments
  228. Dino/Tino/other visual aids
  229. Sports goggles/protective glasses
  230. Monocular vision
  231. Artificial eyes
  232. What shall I tell my child's school?
  233. Starting nursery/school
  234. Meet-ups and linking
  235. Financial help
  236. Benefits of membership
  237. Your support worker
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  239. Visual impairment
  240. Artificial eyes and implants
  241. After treatment
  242. Radioactive plaque
  243. Radiotherapy
  244. Enucleation
  245. Intra-arterial chemotherapy (or melphalan)
  246. Chemotherapy
  247. Laser
  248. Cryotherapy
  249. Treatment
  250. How can I help my child?
  251. Just diagnosed
  252. About retinoblastoma (Rb)
  253. Childhood Eye Cancer Trust - retinoblastoma support and information
  254. Signs and symptoms
  255. About us
  256. Professionals
  257. Beginners
  258. Getting Help
  259. Parents
  260. Childhood eye cancer trust
  261. Parameters
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  263. The Joomla! Community
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