Baby girl diagnosed with cancer at nine months after devastated family noticed squint

A baby girl was diagnosed with cancer at just nine months old after her devastated family noticed she had a slight squint.

Orla Kearney, who was diagnosed in June, has spent more time in hospital receiving treatment than she has at home recently.

The tot, who will celebrate her first birthday on August 29, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye, after dad Thomas Kearney, 31, and mum Morgan Gillan, 21, noticed she had a slight squint and decided to get it checked.

She has since been receiving treatment at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, Glasgow Royal Hospital for Children and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

She will need six rounds of chemotherapy and is due the third dose next week, the Daily Record reports.

In a bid to show their support to the NHS for taking care of Orla, her gran Angela and aunts Susan and Gill have all donated blood – and they are urging others to do the same.

Angela said: “When Orla was diagnosed we were in shock. It all happened so quickly. She has spent more time in hospitals than at home recently. She has required platelet infusions, blood transfusions and antibiotics.

“We decided as a family that we should donate blood in her honour. Myself, my daughter Susan and my sister Gill all gave blood.

“My friends are always asking for an update on Orla’s condition and so I thought I would let people know about the next blood donation.

“Ten of my friends and family said they would donate this week which is wonderful. We can donate again after 12 weeks and are committed to doing this long-term.”

Angela also praised 10-year-old Lincluden Primary pupil, Savannah Stacey-Ferguson, who climbed Criffel with her dad Andy, gran Kay, auntie Julie and family friend Daniel to raise more than £1,000 for Orla and her family to help with travel costs to hospital.

She heard Orla’s story from the school head teacher, where Thomas works as a facilities assistant.

Savannah’s mum Hannah said: “We are very proud of her. When she found out her school’s facilities assistant has a daughter who was diagnosed with cancer of the retina she wanted to help them.”

Angela said: “We never thought about fundraising but money became vital with all the transport and basic needs during Orla’s treatments. Savannah is such a brave and selfless young lady.

“Orla has a long road ahead of her, but the family are optimistic and believe that she will recover as she is getting the best of care.

“The NHS has been brilliant and the family feels fully supported every step of the way.”