Meet Maya and Oscar - the award-winning brother and sister who are both battling back from eye cancer
Meet Maya and Oscar Bainbridge – the Seaham brother and sister aged 2 and 1 who both have eye cancer.
And what an inspirational pair they are as they have both won awards from Cancer Research UK.
Maya was just two months old when she was diagnosed in February 2020 with bilateral retinoblastoma which is a type of eye cancer where both eyes are affected.Later that year when the family welcomed baby boy Oscar, he was diagnosed with the same cancer but in just one of his eyes at just one week old. He is now one year old.
Around 36 children are diagnosed with retinoblastoma in England every year. Both siblings carried a faulty gene called RB1, inherited from their mum Siani Metcalf, who also had retinoblastoma when she was 10 months old.
By May 2020, Mya’s parents Siani, 21, and dad Dan Bainbridge, 25,, were told she was in remission and she had retained vision in both her eyes.Oscar was born three weeks early in November 2020 at the height of the pandemic. His cancer was more advanced.Dan said: “There were several tumours in one of his eyes, but his were more aggressive and had formed in positions affecting his vision, so his treatment has been more intense and as time went on the cancer also developed in his right eye.”
Oscar began chemotherapy two weeks after diagnosis and completed the maximum six cycles. He also had a feeding tube for the first six months of his life.He began laser therapy after a month of chemotherapy and has continued with that every four weeks since.Siani said Oscar was blind in his left eye because of scar tissue. She added: “Fortunately, he doesn’t know any different and his eye assessments on his right eye have come back good so he just gets on with it.”
Both children have received a Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People Star Award, in partnership with TK Maxx, for the courage they have shown throughout their treatment.They were two of 15 children from across the UK recognised during a virtual awards show.
Dan said: “Maya adores her Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People Star Award and sings Twinkle Twinkle to it every day. They have been a really wonderful thing for our family. It was a nice way for the children to be recognised but not feeling sorry for them.
"Instead celebrating them and how brave they have been. We’re so proud of them both.“Maya has taken it all in her stride and despite being so young has been there for her little brother throughout.“It’s given us all a real boost. We hope they inspire other families to get nominating.”
Lisa Millett, Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People spokesperson for the North East, said: “Maya and Oscar are real stars who have been through so much at such a young age. It has been an absolute privilege to be able to celebrate their courage with a Star Award and to mark the occasion with a special show."
To nominate a star visit cruk.org/starawards.