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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Dr Terry Cross OBE delivers specialist sight saving equipment to the NI Regional Children’s Eye Unit

L-R Dr Terry Cross OBE, Patron of the David Cross Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation; Linda Hamilton, Assistant Service Manager in Paediatric Ophthalmology; Ms. Eibhlin McLoone, Belfast Trust Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist and Actor James Nesbitt.

Dr Terry Cross OBE, a serial entrepreneur, has delivered specialist, sight saving equipment to the Children’s Eye Unit at the Belfast Trust Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH).

The equipment will have a life-altering role for children of all ages, including premature babies, and their families and is supported by ForSight – Northern Ireland’s newest chain of charity shops dedicated to raising funds for children and adults who are blind or visually impaired.

Explaining how the equipment will assist, Ms. Eibhlin McLoone, Lead Clinician of the Paediatric Ophthalmology Network Northern Ireland, said:

“This new, specialist, potentially sight saving equipment gifted by Dr Terry Cross OBE is the most powerful and advanced tool available to image the retina.

“This will be the first machine of its kind available in Northern Ireland. Not only will the machine benefit premature babies who require careful monitoring in the first months of life, it will also make a valuable contribution to the screening of children at risk of eye tumours and management of children with complex needs, autism or ADHD. It marks a positive step forward in treatment care plans and it is a truly welcome addition.”

Thanking Dr Terry Cross OBE for making the donation, actor James Nesbitt, who is also a supporter of the premature baby unit at RVH Belfast, said:

“Terry’s kindness in providing early screening and intervention will change families lives immeasurably and will gift sight to those babies at risk”.

Chris White, CEO at ForSight, added:

“As a new charity, we’re delighted to be involved in this donation as our mission is to empower and support people living with sight loss through the funds raised in our chain of charity shops. Having access to pioneering equipment is central to this as it aids early diagnosis and informs treatment plans.”

Commenting on the substantial donation Dr Terry Cross OBE, Patron of the David Cross Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation, said:

“I feel privileged to be in a position to support the wider community and I am a firm advocate of early intervention and prevention when it comes to health matters. I believe such an approach delivers better outcomes right across the spectrum, whether it relates to eye checks or cancer checks.

“It is vital that we all remain active in our responsibilities and do what we can. Our health service has been under immense pressure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and resources are stretched. If we can do something to support health workers to deliver the best service possible, then we should try to do it. As a result of this investment, over 2000 children referred annually to Paediatric Ophthalmology at the RVH Belfast can avail of the most advanced sight saving screening available, following the introduction of a new retinal camera in its Children’s Eye Unit.”

Dr Terry Cross OBE is a well-known businessman in Northern Ireland who has supported local charities throughout his life. He has been President of the Red Cross NI since 2008 and has recently established his own charitable trust – The David Cross Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation, named in memory of his son, David, who tragically died at the age of 33 from malignant melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer.

Terry continues to generously support research programmes at Ulster University around melanoma, as well as many early detection projects, highlighting the dangers of excessive sun exposure and other risk factors. He has also made a remarkable difference in bringing about social change in local communities.

In the past two years, Terry has awarded over 20 grants to local charities and community groups through his trust.

Young people and cross-community projects are a particular passion of Terry’s, especially supporting and improving the employment prospects of young people.

He is guided by his Trustees: Rev Dr Stanley Gamble, Rev Bill Shaw and Fr Gary Donegan.


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