A HEREFORDSHIRE family has spoken out about a form of cancer which has affected a dad and his two young children.

Beth Richards, from Wigmore, near Leominster and her family are completing challenges and raising money to spread the word about Retinablastoma, which was suffered by her husband Phil as a child, her son Luke, 14, and now her latest baby Susie, aged one.

Susie has recently gone through chemotherapy at a specialist unit in Birmingham children's hospital.

Retinoblastoma is a rare type of eye cancer that can affect young children, usually under the age of 5.

The cancer can either affect one or both eyes, however if it's picked up early, it can often be successfully treated.

Because of the family history, baby Susie was checked for the condition at four days old.

She already had a big tumour that was spreading through the optic nerve, which is the way that this particular cancer can travel out of the eye and spread to the rest of the body.

She started chemotherapy for six months, which moved the cancer away from the optic nerve and is now receiving laser treatment every three weeks to shrink the tumour.

Although rare, Mrs Richards wants to spread awareness of the disease as far as possible so people can notice the signs and get treatment as quickly as possible to negate the effects of it.

She said: "About 50 children a week are diagnosed with Retinabalstoma.

"Forty years ago, there was obviously less information available, and my husband didn't get diagnosed until he was two years old, and they ended up having to remove his right eye, plus treatment on the left eye and it's socket."

Hereford Times: The Richards family and their friends looking to spread awareness of rare eye cancerThe Richards family and their friends looking to spread awareness of rare eye cancer

The family are looking to raise money for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) and to spread awareness of the disease for World Retinablastoma Awareness Week.

Her other children, Sam, Joe, and Bea, who all attend Wigmore Primary and Secondary School, and husband Phil are all joining in to help spread the word.

Mrs Richards said: "Phil is walking 100 miles in a week, which is the distance we have to travel for Susie's treatment at Birmingham Children's hospital.

"Luke shaved his head on Monday, after growing it out for the last few months, Joe is wearing an eye patch to school, which some of his classmates are joining in with, and our nine-year-old Bea is doing a sponsored silence, which she in particular will find incredibly difficult.

Hereford Times: Beth's sons Luke and Joe raising money for the eye cancer trustBeth's sons Luke and Joe raising money for the eye cancer trust

"The kids are doing talks in assemblies about the disease and how it has affected the family to get the word out."

In the UK, on average, around 98 per cent of children will survive Retinablastoma but early diagnosis is very important.

If you see one or more of the signs of retinoblastoma, be sure to get your child’s eyes checked urgently just to be safe.

Hereford Times: Six signs of Retinablastoma to watch out forSix signs of Retinablastoma to watch out for

To learn more about the disease and the early signs to look for, visit www.chect.org.uk/about-retinoblastoma-2/#signs