News Release: Emory Healthcare , School of Medicine , Winship Cancer Institute

Apr. 14,  2011

Child Survivors of Eye Cancer to Gather for Emory's 13th Annual RB Picnic on May 7, 2011

•  RB Kids Day celebrates the lives of children who have survived

    Retinoblastoma (RB), an eye cancer

•  Includes Emory Eye Center professionals and family members of RB Kids

•  Heartwarming occasion lends itself to photo ops and interviews  

WHAT:                                    RB DAY PICNIC

WHO:                                     Children who have survived Retinoblastoma, their families,

                                              and Emory Eye Center staff  

WHEN:                                    Saturday, May 7, 2011 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  

WHERE:                                  Mason Mill Park, 1340 McConnell Drive, Decatur, GA 30033  

MEDIA:  If you would like to interview a family, contact Joy Bell by May 1 at

(404) 778-3711; cell: (404) 290-9513.  

(ATLANTA)  The thirteenth annual RB Picnic, coordinated by Emory Eye Center, will be held from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at Mason Mill Park, 1340 McConnell Dr. in Decatur. This very special event promises a day of fun and celebration for both the young patients and their families who have faced this formerly fatal childhood cancer of the eye called retinoblastoma (RB).  

A tumor of the retina (the back of the eye), RB can be hereditary or non-hereditary. When hereditary, it can affect both eyes and sometimes other organs of the body, whereas the non-hereditary type will usually only affect one eye. RB mainly affects young children and occurs in one in 20,000 live births. In its most serious form, it can metastasize to other parts of the body, resulting in death. In decades past, RB often meant certain death for these children. Today’s statistics are much more heartening. In fact, today more than 90% of RB children survive the disease.

On May 7 some 45 to 60 young patients, typically ranging in ages from infancy up to 12 years of age, and their families come from all over Georgia and the Southeast—and sometimes as far away as Europe. The highly anticipated day of celebration includes clowns, an inflatable jumping gym, great food, pony rides, and “Happy Tails” pet-assisted therapy.  

 “I always look forward to this event,” says Baker Hubbard, MD, Emory Eye Center’s pediatric retinal specialist who treats these children. “Last year we had our highest attendance ever, celebrating the lives of these amazing children. This year, in a beautiful, newly renovated park location; we’ll have more parking and better facilities for all our participants. We hope to have even more families joining us on May 7.”  

“This will be my fourth RB Kids day; each year it seems to get better. Our retinoblastoma program, under the direction of Dr. Baker Hubbard has evolved into a leading center of excellence in patient care for pediatric oncology. The picnic is a way to recognize the remarkable success in treatment of this disorder. It’s also a way to recognize the kids who are shining stars to all of us,” says Timothy W. Olsen, MD, director of the Emory Eye Center.  

“This event is so special because it provides those parents who may have a child with newly diagnosed retinoblastoma the realization that this disease can have an outcome that is extremely positive,” says Rhonda Waldron, diagnostic echographer at the Emory Eye Center, who organizes the RB Picnic each year.  “Even in the event that their child has to have an enucleation (removal of the eye), by coming to RB Kids Day these parents have the opportunity to meet other families and share their experiences.    

“They get to witness for themselves how great the other children look cosmetically with their prosthetic eyes, and even more importantly, see that these are normal, happy, playful children,” Waldron adds. “By meeting the more experienced parents who have successfully dealt with their child’s diagnosis, they see that there is so much to be hopeful about. And the kids all have a great time!”    

About Emory Eye Center (http://eyecenter.emory.edu)
Emory Eye Center has a mission to conduct pioneering research into blinding eye diseases, to educate and train eye professionals, and to provide excellent patient care. The Department includes 33 ophthalmologists, eight optometrists, 11 basic scientists, 11 post-doctoral fellows, and nine researchers in other Emory departments who hold joint appointments in the Emory University School of medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology. Current NIH funding of $20 million through 2010 supports ophthalmology research. The Department remains in the l top national rankings (#14 – 2010) by U.S. News & World Report for the 15 years the magazine has held a ranking for Ophthalmology. It also ranks in the Top Ten in the peer-reviewed Ophthalmology Times annual report.

###

The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Blog: http://emoryhealthblog.com
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci
Web: http://emoryhealthsciences.org

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