The new ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ store in Braintree has officially opened its doors, with a celebration led by an eye cancer charity ambassador, Lesley Geen.
Lesley, a support worker for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) – a Vision Express charity partner – was on hand to mark Retinoblastoma (Rb) Awareness Week 2018, with an official ribbon cutting at the new Notley Green premises.
Previously a children’s cancer nurse, Lesley has worked with CHECT for six years, making hospital visits and providing support and guidance to families affected by Rb – a rare and aggressive eye cancer affecting babies and children aged under six. “It’s a privilege to do the job that I do,” she says. “I work with families from the point of diagnosis, or sometimes before, and continue to offer support for the rest of their lives. “This journey can be traumatic for everyone involved so I do my best to provide emotional support to families who have a child going through treatment. I also help families find financial support as having a child in treatment for Rb can be hugely expensive.”
Other areas of Lesley’s work include helping to organise CHECT member days, so parents and children have the opportunity to meet others in similar situations. She also works closely with teenagers and has organised residential weekends and days out to bring together teens, who have perhaps never met anybody else who has been through what they have.
“I often take phone calls from concerned parents as well who might have seen a white reflection in their child’s eye,” continues Lesley. “I’m able to advise them on the best course of action, including who to see – whether that’s an optician or a GP – who can make a specialist referral.
Vision Express was the first optician in the UK to roll out a protocol to ensure a quick and effective referral if Rb is suspected. The national optical retailer has enjoyed an award-winning partnership with CHECT since 2010, using initiatives to raise awareness of Rb and drive donations for the charity, so they can help more families affected. Anthony Hunt, ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ Braintree store manager said: “We were honoured to welcome Lesley to our store and learn more about the amazing work CHECT does for those families affected by Rb.
“Many people don’t realise that eye tests at school are no longer mandatory and this is a perfect opportunity for Vision Express to let people know about the importance of regular eye exams for children.”
The Braintree store is one of more than 200 launching across the UK in 2018, following Vision Express’ acquisition of Tesco Opticians at the end of last year.
The new stores showcase a purple-infused rebrand being introduced across the entire Vision Express network, which features a refreshed logo, striking purple and green colour décor, bright sofas and wooden flooring, delivering a modern, inviting and vibrant environment to encourage customers to feel at ease.
Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson added: “We are incredibly grateful to CHECT, for giving up their time to help us to raise awareness of Rb and eye health.
“This is a hugely exciting time for the Vision Express family, and we’re delighted to welcome new team members to the company and provide a seamless eye health service to former Tesco optical customers. Crucially, we’re pleased to now be able to offer our vision expertise in a convenient location to residents.”