LIFE

Mom Learns 3-Year-Old Has Cancer, Then Looks At His Baby Photo And Realizes He Had It All Along

by Barbara Diamond
Barbara is a passionate writer and animal lover who has been professionally blogging for over 10 years and counting.

Tina, a proud mom from the U.K., couldn’t wait for her sister to see new photos of her 3-year-old son, Taylor.

Tina planned on submitting them to a children’s modeling agency.

But the very second that Taylor’s aunt Geraldine saw his modeling photos in 2013, she immediately noticed something strange. Geraldine saw an unusual white, shadowy glow in Taylor’s right pupil that reminded her of an article she once read about retinoblastoma, a rare yet aggressive form of eye cancer that occurs in toddlers.

Geraldine told Tina to get Taylor to the doctor as soon as possible.

The doctor asked Tina to bring some photos to their appointment, so she started looking through all of the photos she’d taken since Taylor was born. S

he, too, saw the shadow in his photos, but had always assumed it was the camera flash…

Tina Treadwell planned on sending her son’s photos to a modeling agency. Before she submitted them, she showed the pictures of 3-year-old Taylor to her sister Geraldine.

But the second Geraldine saw the photos of Taylor, she noticed something strange.

Geraldine was immediately struck by a white shadowy glow in Taylor’s right pupil. She told Tina to get him to the doctor for an examination.

The doctor asked Tina to bring in some photos, so she looked through all of the pictures she’d taken since Taylor was born — and there was that strange white shadow in nearly every photo, even in one taken when Taylor was just 4 days old.

Tina had spotted the glow before, but had always assumed it was just the camera flash.

Tina and her husband, Simon, took Taylor to the doctor — and at the age of 3, Taylor was diagnosed with a rare childhood eye cancer called retinoblastoma. He had three small tumors in his left eye and a larger one in his right.

The bigger tumor tore his retina, leaving him blind in that eye. But after four months of chemotherapy, Taylor’s tumors were successfully shrunken.

According to St. Jude, “Retinoblastoma is usually diagnosed before a child reaches the age of 3… About 250 to 300 children in the United States are found to have retinoblastoma each year.”

Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) heard about Taylor’s story and asked to use him as one of their campaign models. “We leapt at the chance to get involved,” Tina said.

The organization created an app that allows users to check their children for signs of this deadly disease, simply by snapping and uploading a flash photo with their smartphone.

The campaign’s posters contain reflective ink that helps parents to see how the indicator spots in children’s pupils reveal themselves when flash photography is used.

Any parent with a camera can take photos of their children using a flash to see if a white spot or shadow appears in one or both pupils.

The shadowy glow means the child should be examined for possible retinoblastoma.

Now, Taylor’s modeling skills have been put to good use.

Early detection is the key to treating retinoblastoma, and this simple smartphone app could help save the life of your child.

“It’s hard to believe that a photograph saved Taylor’s life,” Tina says.

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