Being told that your child has cancer is one of the most heart-wrenching and painful things that can happen to a parent, and nobody thinks it can ever happen to them! UK mother Tina Treadwell was organizing photos of her happy 3-year old boy Taylor and planned on sending a few shots to a modeling agency.
Before submitting, she passed the photos along to her sister Geraldine. “I emailed them to [Geralidne] because I was really pleased,” explained Tina. “But she said there was a glow in his eye and she had read in an article years earlier it was a sign of cancer.”
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Worried, Tina booked Taylor an appointment with their GP. “She asked me to bring in some photos, so I flicked through all the ones I’d taken since Taylor was born. The glow was there, in his right eye,” Tina recalls. “Even in one where he was just four days old. I’d spotted it before, but assumed it was the camera flash. I wondered if he always had cancer.”
She admitted to seeing the glow before, but just assumed it was the camera flash.
After some tests, poor Taylor was diagnosed with a rare childhood eye cancer called retinoblastoma. Taylor was treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital for three small tumors in his left eye, and a larger one in his right. He underwent four grueling months of chemo with the risk of losing his eye if it didn’t take.
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“He lost weight and became lethargic,” his mother said. “I hated seeing him so poorly. But the tumor in his right eye had shrunk and the ones in his left eye were dormant.”
While the larger tumor in his right eye tore his retina leaving him blind in that eye, his tumors were successfully shrunken.
While the cancer could return, with regular checks they hope he will be ok.When the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust charity heard his story, they approached Taylor’s mother to model for posters alerting other parents what to look for. “We leapt at the chance to get involved,” his mother said.
“At the studio Taylor was in his element.The photographer said he was a natural. ”
Now the posters can be found at clinics and playgroups for other mother’s to see across the UK. “It’s hard to believe that a photograph saved Taylor’s life,” says Tina. “ Doctors have since said that blood is flowing to Taylor’s retina, so hopefully it might re-attach one day.
If it does, Taylor may get a little of his sight back. But whatever happens, he’ll be a star in my eyes.”
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