WHEN teenager Sam Storey was unable to shake off terrible headaches and blurred vision he went to have his eyes tested – and it proved to be the best decision of his young life.
Optician Pauline Wellstead – who did the eyesight check at the Specsavers shop in Hexham, Northumberland – spotted an abnormality at the back of Sam’s eyes, and realised there could be a serious problem.
She told him to go straight to the eye casualty unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where a CT scan confirmed her initial fear, that Sam had a brain tumour.
He needed immediate surgery and, following an operation to remove the tumour, was unable to speak for several months and lost all movement in the right side of his body.
He underwent seven weeks of radiotherapy treatment, had physiotherapy to enable him to regain his movement and took several months to get his speech back again.
Now Sam, 19, has made a remarkable recovery, and recently ran the Great North Run to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
He is convinced that the eye test he had saved his life.
Sam was able to say a personal “thank you” to Pauline, director and head optician at the Specsavers store in Fore Street, when he returned recently for a follow-up eye examination.
Sam, who lives with his parents Elaine and John in Tynedale Terrace, Hexham, is working as a lifeguard at the town’s Wentworth Leisure Centre.