Superfit gran, 54, lost her eye after routine sight test at Specsavers
A superfit grandmother lost an eye after being diagnosed with terminal cancer following a routine eye test at Specsavers.
Elaine Maltby, 54, regularly attended eye tests at the opticians due to a history of glaucoma in her family, a common eye disease.
The gran-of-three never suffered any problems with her sight, so was left horrified when staff told her “something wasn’t right” at an appointment in August 2017.
The gran-of-three was rushed to the Gartnaval Hospital in Glasgow for tests.
Days later, Elaine, from Largs, North Ayrshire, was diagnosed with uveal melanoma, a form of eye cancer.
That same month she had emergency surgery to remove her left eye and replace it with a prosthetic one.
Medics said they had no choice as her tumours were too aggressive to be treated, and warned that despite the operation being a success, there was a ‘high-risk’ of her cancer returning.
In November 2019, their worst nightmare became a reality.
Elaine’s cancer returned, but it appeared in her liver.
She received immunotherapy followed by early phase trials of chemotherapy.
After two rounds of failed treatment, the Maltby family’s last hope for the dental health worker is Chemo-saturation Therapy.
The therapy saturates the liver, helping to deter further tumours from growing and prolongs life expectancy.
Treatment is currently unavailable on the NHS in Scotland and can only be accessed privately in Southampton where six sessions cost £240,000.
Without treatment, doctors have given Elaine just two years to live.
Her devastated daughter, Natalie Maltby-Lemon, said they are now in a race against time.
The 32-year-old told the Record: “Our world as we knew it has fallen apart.
“Mum’s never had any health issues, she loves hill walking, her job and keeping busy.
“It’s so unfair that there is a treatment out there but unless you are extremely well off it is unavailable.
“We’re all devastated.”
Natalie, her husband, Clint, 26, and their one-year-old daughter Raemy, packed up their life in Cooktown, Australia to move back to Scotland to help Elaine, after eight years down under.
Elaine is supported at home by her 64-year-old husband, George, who is semi-retired.
She is also mum to family support worker, Jenna, 29, from Bishopton, Renfrewshire and Suzanne, 24, a primary school teacher who lives in Largs.
A doting gran to Raemy as well as one-year-old Roan and Olivia, 10, Elaine hopes to see her daughter Suzanne get married to her fiancé in Fife this April.
Scotland’s coronavirus lockdown has prevented the active grandmother from ticking off things on her bucket list like going on safari in Africa.
The Covid-19 pandemic also limits the Maltby’s fundraising opportunities.
Her daughters are hoping to secure the almost a quarter of a million pounds funding for her therapy treatment in Southampton.
Since Tuesday almost £25,000 has been raised.
Natalie added: “My mum says that she’s never felt so special in her life.
“We can’t believe how much has been raised so far, it’s overwhelming.
“If we can get enough for one session, £40,000, that would get the ball rolling.
“Mum is staying positive and keeping fit, which will allow the therapy in England to work better.
“We’ll do anything to help keep our mum here for as long as we can.”