“He was brave enough to stand up to bullies in school and wanted to show others that he was able to swim with real live sharks in the London Aquarium too,” said Jack Teeling’s mum, Grainne.
She said that Jack (9) was bullied because of the effect that losing an eye to cancer had on his appearance.”Earlier this year, he had to go without his prosthetic eye for nearly five weeks because of an infection in his eye socket,” she said.
“Some of the other children knew he could not see in one eye but did not know he was missing an eye and, when they realised this, they said mean things to him and refused to play with him.”I am very proud of him because he stood up to them and told his teacher.
“It was all dealt with really quickly.”Jack said: “Bullying is wrong. It’s OK to tell an adult about it.”
Grainne added: “He knows he’s the same as everybody else.”He’s got a ‘special eye’, but he’s no different to any other child and he wants other children to know they can conquer their fears and stand up to bullies.”
Grainne has watched as both Jack and his younger brother Cian (7) went through chemotherapy to battle the same cancer, retinoblastoma.The family, from Mornington, Co Meath, have used Facebook to raise the issue of the bullying of children who have had the condition.
For siblings to develop the disease is rare, and it was due to Grainne listening to her instinct and insisting that doctors check her younger son that it was discovered he too had tumours.Both lost an eye but are now doing well, and Jack has developed a love of acting and is registered with a modelling agency.
“I’m so proud of him and, when we saw that This Morning was doing two weeks on how to tackle bullying, Jack sent in a video saying how he had been bullied when he was sick, and to show the bullies that they should not do it he would like to swim with sharks,” said Grainne.To their de light, the producers of the ITV programme got in touch and arranged to fly the family to London, where they arranged for Jack to swim with sharks in the London Aquarium.
He was interviewed live from the aquarium by Schofield and Willoughby.