A COUPLE “fell apart” when they discovered their four-year-old boy had a rare childhood cancer after looking at a family photo.

Laila Gaudry and Ollie Blanks, from Eastbourne, had noticed a strange reflection in son Noah’s left eye.

Searching the internet for his son’s symptoms, Mr Blanks read about rare eye cancer retinoblastoma and found one symptom was a white glow in a child’s eye.

After taking pictures of Noah and studying them, Mr Blanks and Ms Gaudry were horrified to see a white glow in one photo.

“When the word cancer was first mentioned, we looked at each other as we fell apart,” Ms Gaudry, 29, said of their cancer scare two years ago. The couple rushed their son to A&E and they were referred to a specialist who diagnosed Noah with retinoblastoma.

“While we waited for Noah’s appointment at the Royal London Hospital we just kept telling ourselves that as long as it hadn’t spread, we would get through it,” Ms Gaudry said.

The couple were told chemotherapy could cure their son’s condition.

But surgeons would have to remove his left eye if Noah did not respond to treatment.

By Christmas 2017, the four-year-old had nearly finished his treatment and the end seemingly in sight.

“It was going to be the best Christmas of our life,” said Ms Gaudry.

“The chemo had done its job and we had left the danger zone for the eye surgery.

“Ollie and I went to see the kids’ nativity together and it felt so wonderfully normal as we all cooed and teared up at the children.”

But a few days before Christmas Day, the family were told Noah’s tumour had grown substantially.

The best option now was to remove their son’s eye.

“After everything Noah had been through I couldn’t believe it was all for nothing,” Ms Gaudry said.

“What was meant to be a bit of good news before Christmas turned into our worst nightmare.”

With surgery scheduled for December 27 2017, the couple decided not to tell their son the news until Boxing Day so he could enjoy his Christmas.

“He was confused about what to expect but took it very well,” Ms Gaudry said.

“Noah had his temporary prosthetic eye fitted four weeks after his operation.

“At his first check-up post-surgery he was given the all clear.”

Now six years old, Noah is enjoying his childhood as a normal boy together with big brother Jake.

With the second anniversary of his surgery fast approaching and a wedding planned for the couple, this Christmas was a lot easier than it was two years ago.

“Life is so much better,” Ms Gaudry said.

“I hope our story can help other families to know that there really is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Now the family are encouraging others to be aware of retinoblastoma so they can avoid going through the same experience.

The main symptoms are a glow in the eye and a squint.