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Danni Winrow, 24

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

Where are you from & currently?

Liverpool, England

Tell me about yourself:

I love camping and the outdoors. I also volunteer as a Scout Leader

What's your eye story?

When I was 6 months old I was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer that mainly affects children under the age of six. I was so little so I don’t remember anything but it was a really hard time for my family. When I was a baby I would just cry and cry, and my mum noticed I had a slight squint in my right eye and took me to the doctor multiple times. At the time, they just sent her away and said there was nothing wrong with me. My mum had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right and kept pushing them until they sent me to a specialist who confirmed that I had a tumor in my right eye. I needed my eye removed as soon as possible - he said that if my mum hadn’t continued pushing for me to be seen I probably would have been dead within weeks. It was a really scary time for my family as retinoblastoma was and continues to be, a form of cancer that is really rare, and not many people have heard of/know the signs and symptoms to look out for. They were really looked after by a charity called CHECT during this time, and when I got a bit older I became an advocate for them for a while.

What has been the most challenging thing mentally?

The hardest thing mentally for me has been the bullying and often nasty comments I’ve grown up with and still sometimes get from people that don’t understand.

What has been the most challenging thing physically?

As someone that had their eye removed so young, I’ve not really had to adapt as much as others because I’ve never really known any different. The hardest thing for me is probably the lack of depth perception because I’m naturally pretty clumsy and always walk into things or trip over them.

Where are you now in your recovery?

I was under Alder Hey until I was around the age of 11 to make sure that cancer didn’t come back into my “good” eye. Thankfully, it didn’t and I’ve been signed off for a good while now. Growing up I used to cover my prosthetic eye because I was overly conscious of the way it looked and hoped that doing so would lead to fewer comments/hurtful things said about it. I’ve now got to a point in my life where I’m happy with myself and the things I’ve overcome and am quite happy to not only show off my prosthetic but take it out on occasion. I didn’t think I’d ever get to this point with my self-confidence but I’m so happy to be able to share my story and raise awareness for this rare form of cancer.

[Edited for clarity by @jacobfromutah]

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