Woman’s trail-blazing bid to fight a rare eye cancer

Luch Hoch with her husband Andrew and daughters Eleanor, left, and Alice

Luch Hoch with her husband Andrew and daughters Eleanor, left, and Alice

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

AN Oxfordshire woman’s eye cancer is so rare that most doctors don’t have any patients with the condition.

Lucy Hoch’s ocular melanoma led her to lose most of her vision in her right eye and she now wears an eye-patch.

Now the 42-year-old is raising money for charity OcuMel UK with her husband Andrew and daughters, Alice, 11, and Eleanor, 10.

The Blewbury family are walking the 87-mile Ridgeway from Wiltshire to Oxfordshire in stages each Sunday this month and next. They have already raised more than £600 for the charity through sponsorship.

Just 450 UK people are diagnosed each year and are often excluded from drug trials, which campaigners say limits research into the condition.

The charity supports patients by putting them in touch and providing emotional support.

It also tries to raise awareness of the condition and is campaigning for standard medical guidelines and more drug trials.

Mrs Hoch was diagnosed in 2012 and was told she was in the clear but the cancer returned and was treated with lasers.

She said: “I have to wear the eye-patch, otherwise it makes me very tired.

“Because of the radiation damage my eye is really dry and I get headaches as well.

“Now I don’t know what my prognosis is. It’s difficult to live with because there’s so much uncertainty. Nobody can tell you if you’re going to be okay.”

She said: “OcuMel UK is a link, really. With a cancer like this you can feel so isolated.

“When you go to the doctor, you’re probably the only case that he’s heard of – it’s that rare.

“OcuMel UK is like a light in a very, very dark place.

“People understand what you’re going through.”

She added: “It’s frustrating because you have to fight for every bit of treatment as there is no recommended pathway, and no cure.”

Mrs Hoch said: “We wanted to do the trail because it’s Oxfordshire, and the children wanted to join us so it needed to be something that’s manageable.

“It’s also more time to get sponsorship. If you’re doing something as a one-off event it’s passed them by usually, but we’re doing it in stages.”

To donate, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ team/theHochs

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