Colton Bethune’s mother, Jenny, first saw a picture from Know the Glow right after the birth of her son. Jenny had seen a similar glow in a picture of her 4-month old son, but brushed the glow off as a camera error. However, Colton began having trouble focusing on objects during the next few months. Jenny discussed her concern with Colton’s pediatrician, who reassured her that his wandering eyes were normal and would correct themselves within the first year. By the time Colton was eight months old, one eye had corrected itself. His left eye, however, still wandered more than Jenny was comfortable with. Colton’s “lazy eye,” along with his Glow photo, was enough for Jenny to seek a different opinion. She insisted that her pediatrician refer her to a specialist, who did a thorough exam of Colton’s eye and initially did not find anything wrong. Since Colton’s eye was wandering outward instead of inward, the specialist dilated his eye to have a closer look. After dilation, the specialist immediately knew something was wrong. She had never seen this condition before in an infant, so she wanted to confirm her suspicions before giving a diagnosis. The specialist sent photos of Colton’s eye to Dr. Matthew Wilson, the leading pediatric oncologist at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. It took 30 minutes for Dr. Wilson to confirm that Colton had cancer. The following Monday, Dr. Wilson examined Colton under anesthesia and diagnosed him with Retinoblastoma. Jenny had two options: to remove Colton’s eye and possibly follow up with chemotherapy, or to keep the eye but aggressively attack the cancer with chemotherapy, laser therapy and cryotherapy. Jenny decided to keep Colton’s eye and fight the cancer.
Colton has undergone eight rounds of chemotherapy, eight treatments of cryotherapy and numerous other laser treatments. Colton received his last round of chemo in January, and his tumor is 98 percent calcified. Colton’s retina, which was completely detached, has now reattached, and he has gained back a limited amount of vision. Jenny is glad she listened to her mother’s intuition and insisted on taking Colton to a specialist. Colton is now almost 2 years old, with a strong fighting spirit. Through his testing, it has been determined that Colton’s cancer is non-genetic, and there is no trace of tumors in his other eye. Colton is scheduled for more cryotherapy and laser treatments in the next five to six months, and will continue exams until he is 18. Thanks to awareness brought by Know the Glow, Colton’s Retinoblastoma was discovered in time.