Random eye-test saves the life of mum with cancer

GOOD TO BE ALIVE -- brave mum Sarah with husband Stuart and three of her children, Daniel, Emily and Jessica
GOOD TO BE ALIVE -- brave mum Sarah with husband Stuart and three of her children, Daniel, Emily and Jessica

A MUM-of-four from Hucknall has revealed how a spur-of-the-moment eye-test revealed a cancerous tumour — and ultimately saved her life.

Sarah Beeston (39) went for the check-up at the Specsavers branch on High Street.

It was the first time she had visited an optician’s in seven years.

But little did she know that her whole world was about to be turned upside down.

For a specialist camera picked up a growth on the optic nerve in her right eye.

After immediately being referred to hospital and then undergoing tests in Sheffield, Sarah, of Minster Close, was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer.

“My immediate thought was that I wouldn’t be around to see my children grow up,” said Sarah, who is mum to Josh (17), Daniel (15), Emily (six) and Jessica (two).

Thankfully the cancer was spotted early enough and although Sarah has had to have her eye removed, she says she feels she has “been given a second chance”.

She has also heaped praise on her family and Specsavers, particularly store director and optometrist Stephen Archer who spotted the abnormality.

“I basically owe my life to Stephen,” said Sarah, who is married to long-distance lorry-driver Stuart (43).

“I can’t thank him and the Specsavers staff enough. I also cannot thank my family enough. Without their support, I wouldn’t have got through this.”

After Sarah’s original eye-test, she was rushed into the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham on the same day.

Doctors there couldn’t make a full diagnosis, so she had to go back two days later.

Again there were doubts. But she was told the problem could be life-threatening.

Sarah, who runs Slimming World classes at the John Godber Centre on Ogle Street, Hucknall, was then sent to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

She went through three hours of tests under the guidance of a professor.

Eventually, a melanoma tumour, 2.8 millimetres in diameter, was diagnosed.

Sarah was given two options. The first was radiotherapy treatment, although it would have taken a year to discover whether this had killed the cancer.

The second option was to have the eye removed.

Sarah decided to have the operation. After tests to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread to her liver, she went into theatre for three hours.

She has now had a false eye fitted and is concentrating on spending quality time with her family.

“Something like this makes you realise what is important in life,” said Sarah.

“I have been very determined all through this. Losing an eye is not going to stop me doing anything.”

One of Sarah’s sons, Daniel, wanted to pay tribute to his mum’s bravery through the pages of the Dispatch.

He said: “When I found out mum had cancer, I immediately broke down crying.

“I linked it to a family friend who had recently died from cancer and I thought we were going down the same road.

“But as I saw mum coming through it, I got stronger. This has all brought us closer as a family.”

Despite the gratitude shown by Sarah and her family, Mr Archer said: “I don’t think we did anything that any other optician wouldn’t have done.

“This was just good timing and highlights the importance of regular eye-examinations.”