Kids from Gymea Bay are banding together in support of a friend who has cancer. Bay Road Kindy is supporting a fundraiser for Mya, 8.
Her mother, Adel Stanford, who has three daughters, discovered Mya, her youngest girl, was diagnosed with sporadic retinoblastoma at eight months of age. Her parents were not gene carriers, however Mya has a 40-50 per cent chance of passing on the gene.
"It can be picked up in a newborn eye screening but she didn't have it or it wasn't picked up," she said.
"I noticed her eye was crooked and in a photo of her there was a white glow in her eye. I took her to the doctor for something else and they noticed it. This glow can be a sign of the disease."
Retinoblastoma is the most common type of eye cancer in children. While it accounts for about two per cent of all childhood cancers, overall it is rare, as are awareness and support groups in Australia.
Although more than nine out of 10 children with retinoblastoma are cured, the outlook is not as good if the cancer has spread outside of the eye.
Mya, a pupil from Gymea Bay Public School, had treatment including chemotherapy, laser and cryotherapy to her right eye, for two and a half years. Unfortunately at age three her eye had to be removed. She now has an artificial eye and has been cancer-free for the past five years.
Ms Standford says her mission is to start a charity called 'The Mighty Warriors', to help families of children who have been diagnosed.
"I want to hold an event annually and eventually use the charity to raise awareness and funds for other not so well-known childhood cancers - this is my big picture mission," she said.
"I haven't felt ready to hold an event until now. I wasn't in the right head space.
"There's an organisation in the UK called 'Know the Glow' and I want to use the same tagline in promoting this fundraiser."
There are 200 tickets available for the November 8 inaugural luncheon at Cronulla RSL. Ms Stanford hopes to gain the support of community businesses to donate towards the event, with funds going towards the establishment of the charity that will target retinoblastoma support.
Bay Road Kindy director Jamie Byrne, who is friends with Ms Stanford, says the kindy is grateful to be involved.
"It's a very important cause," she said. "We are honoured to support the fight against any cancer, particularly affecting children."