When Lennox was just 3 years old, their mum, Renee, noticed a strange grey glow in their eye. Initially brushing it off as a light reflection, Renee tried to disregard it but her mother’s intuition told her to dig deeper. Renee searched the internet and took a few photos of Lennox’s eyes with the flash on to see if they both reflected red, like normal eyes. They didn't.
The GP referred Lennox to an eye clinic, where they were quickly referred up to Auckland Eye Clinic and oncology. Lennox had surgery and Retinoblastoma in their right eye was confirmed, and Lennox lost their eye.
Lennox quickly returned to preschool and their new “normal” life with one eye. There were a few stares and lots of questions, but as Renee had been determined to normalise this for Lennox, they were able to answer any questions with very straightforward, matter of fact answers – which was pretty incredible for someone so young!
At just 5 years old, Lennox went on their first Camp Quality camp - and they've been almost every year since. Camp Quality became a home away from home for Lennox, somewhere safe and accepting with a huge amount of ongoing support.
“Being around other kids who got it and didn't need to ask lots of questions was so cool,” says Lennox. Lennox has been through several gender transitions and felt accepted and loved at every stage with Camp Quality, something that both Lennox and Renee truly appreciate.
No one ever wishes for cancer, but a very young Lennox said to their mum “I’m almost kinda happy that I had cancer Mum, because I get to go on Camp Quality camps.”