'Know the glow' pictures could show cancer in children - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

'Know the glow' pictures could show cancer in children

Ava (Source: GoFundMe) Ava (Source: GoFundMe)
HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) -

After a tumor was found behind their toddler’s eye, a Hopewell family is changing their life-changing experience into a life-saving lesson.

Fourteen-month-old Ava stood in front of her new teddy bear, which was dressed up in scrubs similar to a doctor. It was given to her as a gift from her grandmother so that she could get more comfortable around hospital staff.

As the bear sang, Ava danced, smiling while putting on a show. It’s hard to imagine under her arm is a PICC line, and that she had just seen a nurse moments before.

Earlier this month, Ava and her twin brother, Carter, went to see an eye doctor. It isn’t typical for toddlers to see an optometrist, but since the twins were born two months early, they see a team of doctors regularly.

The twins first saw an eye doctor when they were two months old, to see if their retinas were developing correctly. At that time, they were. But at this second visit, doctors noticed a glare.

“They said it was a tumor. They didn't know the size at that time,” explained Blair Devers, Ava and Carter’s mom.

Tests conducted in March showed it was large enough the14-month-oldd had to start chemo right away.

“You want to think the worst. You have to make your mind think positive thoughts in order to get you through it,” expressed Erik Dunbar, their dad.

It was the first time Ava was away from her twin brother.

“I felt terrible because I couldn’t be there for both of them…” expressed Devers, as she explained Carter couldn’t come to the hospital. It was the first time she was away from her son.

The couple believes the tumor never would have been caught if the twins weren’t preemies, realizing parents don’t often bring children to the optometrist until they’re older or showing signs of vision problems.

Now they’re urging parents to reconsider, suggesting they get their eyes checked out earlier.

They were also told by doctors that the tumor can be seen through photographs, which they call "know the glow." A glare can be seen from one of Ava’s eyes in a picture, just days after the diagnosis.

The couple has postponed their wedding to focus solely on Ava’s health.

They are now working to organize a benefit and want to bring more awareness to this form of cancer. Once medical bills are paid off, they plan to donate any additional money straight to childhood cancer research.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help.

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