September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and one valley mom is trying to spread the word about how a simple photo of your child could indicate a rare form of childhood cancer.
We've all seen red eye in photos, but doctors say if you notice a white or golden glow reflected back from your child's eye in a picture, it might be a read flag for certain disorders, even a rare eye cancer in children.
Had the Gregg family known what they know now when a photo of their daughter was taken, their lives might be a little different.
"I wish I knew, she was 1-year-old," said Nara Gregg.
A picture of their daughter Olivia on her first birthday shows a white glow in her right eye.
"Probably, at that point, the tumor was really big already," said Gregg.
At 17-months-old, Olivia was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, which required her to have her eyes checked.
Her mother, Nara, says she'll never forget the doctor's face.
"She looked at her right eye and I saw her face--it was something wrong, I new there was something wrong," said Gregg.
Olivia was diagnosed with a rare eye cancer called Retinoblastoma.
"When the doctor walked in the room, he sat down, he looked at both of us and said it's cancer," said Gregg.
It was stage four.
"We couldn't believe it, that it's really happened to us. We had no cancer in the family," said Gregg.
One option was to remove Olivia's eye, but her parents decided to try to save it,
opting for a series of radiation, cyrotherapy and lazer treatments.
"At one point, I couldn't see her, like that she wasn't eating," said Gregg. "But, they were hoping after start chemotherapy she would regain her vision and her retina would attach again and it did."
While at the hospital, the Gregg's learned that a white glow in a child's eyes in photos can be an early indicator of the cancer.
"And then it clicked. On my, okay. Oh my God, let me go back. So I went back to all my pictures in my camera and I saw it," said Gregg.
But not all of the pictures showed the white glow.
"Most of the pictures that had the white glow was the picture when she looked down because of the location of her tumor," said Gregg.
The Gregg's started posting Olivia's photo on social media to try to alert others to the white glow.
But Gregg admits, even if the cancer was caught then, her daughter still would have had to go through chemo, just maybe not as much.
Olivia had her last chemo treatment a year ago and the tumor continues to shrink.
In another year, the hope is that she'll be considered cancer free.
"When they see white glow, we just wanted to spread the word," said Gregg.
Right now Olivia has 20/50 vision and it could improve.
There are other disorders related to the glow.
The Gregg's Story & HopeWalk 2013
More information on white glow connection to cancer/disorders
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