Toddler, two, was diagnosed with deadly eye cancer from a photograph

Dated 17/05/2018 Two-year-old Presley Marshall, from Jarrow, South Tyneside, whose sight was saved by a holiday photograph which revealed she was suffering from retinoblastoma - a rare form of eye cancer. See story North News

Toddler saved by her holiday snaps: Two-year-old was diagnosed with deadly eye cancer after a photographer noticed a strange white glow in the images

  • On a trip to Tenerife, a photographer snapped Presley, who was seven months 
  • She noticed Presley had one white eye and warned her parents it may be cancer
  • After rushing home the next day, Presley was diagnosed with the condition 
  • She underwent chemotherapy and temporarily lost her sight in her right eye
  • Now two, Presley is expected to make a full recovery but requires check ups  
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A toddler’s sight was saved after a holiday photograph revealed she was suffering from a rare form of life-threatening eye cancer.

During a family trip to Tenerife in January 2017, a hotel photographer snapped Presley, who was just seven months old at the time.

The photographer, called Alessia, noticed Presley had one white eye in the picture and warned her parents Sophie Findlay and Darren Marshall she may be suffering from retinoblastoma.   

The family flew back to their home in Jarrow, South Tyneside, the next day and took Presley straight to Sunderland Eye Infirmary, where she was diagnosed.

After undergoing chemotherapy and temporarily losing her sight, Presley, now two, is expected to make a full recovery.

Speaking of her gratitude to Alessia, Miss Findlay, 33, said: ‘If it hadn’t have been picked up, she may have lost her eye. This lady has saved her eye and saved her sight.

‘Presley had not shown any signs of being unwell and she wouldn’t have had her eyes tested until she was four.’

A toddler’s sight was saved after a photograph revealed she was suffering from eye cancer. The photographer explained the white ball in her eye was abnormal and should be checked out

After undergoing chemotherapy, Presley, now two, is expected to make a full recovery 

Her mother Sophie Findlay (pictured) credits the photographer for saving Presley’s sight 

Miss Findlay added she owes the photographer Alessia (pictured) ‘everything’


Retinoblastoma is a rare type of eye cancer that usually affects children under the age of five.

As it is usually caught early in the UK, 98 per cent of children with the disease are successfully treated.

About 50 children develop the condition every year in Britain.

It affects up to 300 youngsters annually in the US.

Retinoblastoma is specifically a cancer of the retina, which is the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye.

It can affect one or both eyes.

A fault gene is responsible in about 40 per cent of cases. This can be inherited from the sufferer’s parents or may occur spontaneously.

The most common symptoms are the pupil looking like a cat’s eye and the child developing a squint. 

The cat eye look is most commonly seen in photos.

Small tumours can usually be treated with laser or freezing treatment.

Larger tumours may require chemotherapy or surgery.

Source: NHS Choices

‘We were told it was really serious’ 

Miss Findlay, who is also mother to Parker, three, said: ‘Darren had been working away over Christmas which is why we had decided to book a last minute holiday in January.

‘When we were at the hotel we had asked the photographer to get some pictures of the kids. It was on the second [to] last day when we went to collect the photos and she pulled us aside.

‘She told me to have a look at her eye. I just thought it was something like camera red eye and asked if she could just do something to make it right.

‘But she told us that it should never be white and to take her to the doctor and get her checked out. 

Miss Findlay added: ‘As soon as we got off the plane we took her to the hospital and we were told it was really serious.

‘There was a white ball in her right eye. 

‘Then we had to wait to find out how serious it was. It was categorised as Grade B, E being the lowest, so we caught it really early.’

‘We owe this lady everything’ 

After her diagnosis, Presley, underwent treatment at both Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and a hospital in Birmingham.

She has also had a number of laser surgery sessions. 

Since Presley’s diagnosis and subsequent treatment, her parents tried to find Alessia to say thank you and coincidentally bumped into her on a second holiday in Tenerife.

Miss Findlay said: ‘We owe this lady everything.’  

Presley requires check-ups every six weeks at Birmingham’s Children Hospital.

Although recovered, Presley still requires hospital check ups every six weeks 

Miss Findlay said Presley showed no signs of being unwell and was not due to have an eye test 

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