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In Memoriam: Victoria Lendrum Cohen

The Victoria Cohen Eye Cancer Charitable Trust is delighted to announce that it is now open for applications from aspiring ocular oncologists who wish to apply for a scholarship to help fund their fellowship.

Twenty nine aspiring ocular oncologists have applied for the inaugural Victoria Cohen scholarship ahead of the deadline of 31st March 2022.

Applications have been received from all over the world, from Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America.

Nicholas Rapley, Chair of the Victoria Cohen Eye Cancer Charitable Trust, commented, ‘We are absolutely delighted that there is so much interest in the Victoria Cohen scholarship. This underlines the fact that whilst some may have the ability and desire to become an eye specialist, not all have the financial means.

There are not enough eye surgeons in the world; the VCECCT is very pleased to be able to help aspiring ocular oncologists to fund their fellowship and to support their training.’

The expert panel of judges will now review all 29 anonymised applications before drawing up a shortlist, which will be announced in the coming weeks, before a second round of judging. The winner will be revealed at this year’s International Society of Ocular Oncologists conference in Leiden, Netherlands, in June.

The Victoria Cohen scholarship is an annual award. The deadline for next year is 31st March 2023.

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Full details on the charity and how to apply can be found at www.vcecct.org

Dear Friends:

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that our President, colleague and friend, Miss Victoria Lendrum Cohen, MA, MB BChir, FRCOphth passed away shortly before Christmas. 

As a world expert in Ocular Oncology, she had been at the helm of the Moorfields and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital as Chief & Consultant Clinical Lead since 2009. She served as the Director of the National Oncology Service in London and Chair of the Ocular Oncology Multidisciplinary Team. 

Victoria had a true passion for patient care, the promotion of women in medicine and dedicated her career to the treatment of rare ophthalmic cancers. She received her medical degree from Cambridge University in 1995, followed by training in ophthalmology and became member of the Royal College of Ophthalmologist in 2000. She completed 3 ocular oncology fellowships, initially with her mentor John Hungerford in 2003 and 2005. She was subsequently awarded the Pfizer Ophthalmic Fellowship to spend a year training in the US at the Wills Eye Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 

Victoria had a keen interest in research. She has co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications covering a broad range of expertise from retinoblastoma to uveal melanoma to conjunctival tumors. She served a critical role within our society at large as well as the Chair of the Young Ocular Oncologists (YOO), which she co-founded, and Women in Ocular Oncology (WOO). She was elected as President of ISOO in 2019 and she led us, as she was known to do, with style and grace. 

Victoria was a mentor to many and is mourned around the world. Her legacy lives on via her stunning contributions and leadership within the field of ocular oncology, the patients she treated, the young ocular oncologists she inspired. Most precious to Victoria, her love and spirit live on in her husband Nick Rapley, and their young son Hugo, to whom the society sends its heartfelt condolences.

A fund in honor of Victoria Lendrum Cohen has been established within ISOO to honor her contributions and impact on our field. Donations can be made online via www.isoo.org after January 6, 2021. This fund will support future ISOO endeavors. A committee will be convened in collaboration with her family to ensure the fund is in line with her wishes. 

Further details of initiatives will be posted to our Members Only section of the website.

Let us join together as a society to honor Victoria’s life and ensure we carry on with the passion and dedication she taught us. 

Your ISOO Executive Board