See how this Illinois mother’s cellphone photo revealed 2-year-old’s rare cancer

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ILLINOIS (PIX11) – A cellphone photo may have saved the life of a 2-year-old boy after the image, taken by his mother, revealed a rare cancer in his eye.

Julie Fitzgerald told WREX that she first noticed something odd about her son Avery’s eye a couple months before the photo was taken — when light would shine at a certain angle she thought she could see something in his pupil.

She couldn’t figure out what exactly she was looking at, however, so she decided to scour the Internet for answers.

That’s how she learned about a woman whose family photo led to a cancer diagnosis after the flash turned one of her relative’s pupils white instead of red in the image.



Her husband Patrick told her it was probably nothing and that she shouldn’t assume the worst after reading the article.  Fitzgerald couldn’t shake a growing sense of concern about Avery, however, so she picked up her phone and took a photo.

“I did not want to take the picture because I had this dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach,” she told WREX.  “And I took the picture and boom.  His whole pupil was just white and that’s when I knew.”

She took Avery to a specialist who took a look at her son and gave her some bad news — her little boy had retinoblastoma.

“He took one look and said ‘there are multiple, multiple tumors,'” Fitzgerald recalled.

Doctors wouldn’t be able to save his eye.

Without the photo however, the specialist told Fitzgerald that, if it had gone undetected, the cancer could have spread to his brain and blood.

Avery will receive a prosthetic eye, and, for now, his family is happy that the cancer appears to be completely removed.

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