A BATTLING mum who ran the London Marathon despite fighting the debilitating symptoms of a brain tumour was on hand to inspire staff at a new Colchester opticians.

Gemma Edgar was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in October 2014, just eight weeks after the birth of her second son Noah.

She had surgery the next day followed by weeks of radiotherapy, but was left devastated when little Noah received his own cancer diagnosis a year later.

Brave Noah, now three, had entinoblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of eye cancer and needed urgent life-saving surgery.

His right eye was removed and he underwent six months of intense chemotherapy, before spending nine weeks in the United States undergoing proton beam therapy.

In a further blow, Gemma's cancer returned, with the embattled mother finding out just a week after she secured her place in the London Marathon.

Despite the setback and ongoing chemotherapy, she completed the challenge, raising funds for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.

Noah now wears an artificial eye and has regular MRI scans and examinations under general anaesthetic every four months to check the cancer hasn't returned.

Gemma, 32, of Ipswich Road, Colchester, said: “Despite his struggles, Noah is now doing really well and is a happy, energetic three-year-old boy.

“He doesn’t let the fact that he only has one eye stop him at all.

“Whenever I’m feeling sorry for myself, I think of Noah and the fact he was only a baby when he underwent treatment and he never complained.”

Gemma and Noah both took the time to cut the ribbon at the new Vision Express at Tesco Extra, in Highwoods, thanks to the company's strong links with the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.

Vision Express has been partners with the charity since 2010, raising awareness of etinoblastoma and becoming the first optician in the country to roll out a protocol to ensure a quick referral if the rare condition is suspected.

Howard Wright, store manager said: “We were honoured to welcome Noah and Gemma to our store to share their personal experience.

"It’s a great morale boost for the team and to raise awareness of the amazing work CHECT does for those families affected.

“Many people don’t realise that eye tests at school are no longer mandatory and this is a perfect opportunity for Vision Express to let people know about the importance of regular eye exams for children.”