It was Christmas Eve 2008; Aiden had just celebrated his 3rd birthday two weeks prior.
Tim, Aiden’s father, was reading the newspaper and came across an article on Retinoblastoma and how a young child had been diagnosed by having the “white-eye reflection” picked up in photographs. He grabbed a recent photo of Aiden, and showed it to Deb, who was in the process of wrapping the kids’ Christmas presents. Sure enough, the white-eye glow was clearly visible.
We contacted our local optometrist, who requested to see Aiden that day. After examining him, he referred us to the local eye specialist, who saw us later that afternoon. Retinal images were taken of his eye, and confirmed our fears—Aiden had a tumor growing in his left eye. We contacted doctors in Brisbane immediately, and three days later we were in Brisbane for further examinations. Aiden was diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer, known as Retinoblastoma. It was then that we were informed that treatment needed to begin immediately because, if left completely untreated, Aiden would not see the next Christmas.
Over the next 18 months, Aiden was treated by laser surgery to stop the tumor from growing. A radioactive plaque was also inserted to kill off the tumor. But these treatments were unsuccessful after several attempts.
In June 2010, we decided to surgically remove the eye in order to stop the chances of the tumor spreading throughout his body, therefore saving his life.
Aiden is now 10 years old. He still needs ongoing medical examinations to ensure his other eye is healthy, and has MRI (which are done at our expense as they are not covered by Medicare bulk-billing) and blood tests annually to rule out any secondary cancers throughout his body. These tests will be a lifelong event. He also needs a new prosthetic eye created, fitted and checked as he grows into adulthood.
We have also set up a Go Fund Me page to assist with annual ongoing medical expenses: https://www.gofundme.com/27wnmbcs.
Story Update: “Aiden is now in year 9 at school, and doing well. We have just had a check up with the optometrist and she was happy with his eye health for his remaining eye. 12 months ago, Aiden was selected to participate in the Queen’s Baton Relay, representing the Australian Cancer Council.”