George’s Glow Story

Diagnosis: Retinoblastoma

George’s Inspirational Journey: Battling Retinoblastoma with Courage and Hope

In May of 2023, the life of young George Walsh took an unexpected turn when a peculiar white glare appeared in his eye during a family photo. This seemingly innocuous moment led to a whirlwind of events, marking the beginning of George’s inspiring journey in the face of retinoblastoma (RB), a rare form of eye cancer.

George’s parents, Victoria and her husband, immediately sought advice from a close family friend who was an optician. The optician’s insight prompted a swift decision to fly home on the same day for an examination the next day and a subsequent referral to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The diagnosis, confirmed through an examination under anesthesia, revealed the presence of a large tumor that would require chemotherapy.

Opting for intra-arterial chemotherapy (IAC), a procedure that would prove crucial in George’s battle against cancer, the family faced the challenges with strength and determination. Despite being just shy of his second birthday, George showcased remarkable bravery, enduring the treatment with grace. A swollen eye and a hint of fatigue were mere bumps in the road for this resilient young boy.

Three weeks post-treatment, the family returned to Birmingham for a checkup, anxiously awaiting news on the tumor’s response. The elation felt upon learning that the tumor had shrunk was tempered by the realization that additional rounds of IAC and laser treatments would still be necessary. The family became seasoned travelers between procedures and checkups, with George’s older sister Ava assuming the role of a steadfast guardian.

Finally, George’s tumor began to display signs of calcification, indicating progress in the ongoing battle against RB. The team of doctors’ unwavering support, coupled with the family’s resilience, pointed toward a brighter future, holding onto hope and strength in the face of adversity.  

The journey was marked by unique observations. George’s father had noticed the glare with his naked eye, while Victoria, his mother, saw it in dim light. Victoria’s mother, drawing on personal experiences, recognized the importance of the glow and suggested trying flash photography—a technique that had once helped a family friend find their child’s RB diagnosis a few decades before.  Victoria’s mum had never forgotten it! 

George’s story, shared by Victoria, had a ripple effect as well, leading to other families getting in touch and sharing their journey’s. Unbeknownst to George, he has already become a beacon of hope for others finding similar symptoms and facing similar challenges, spreading awareness and inspiring resilience in the community.

In a significant contribution to medical research, George has become part of a liquid biopsy study at Birmingham under the care of Helen Jenkinson. The family has also found invaluable support through the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), standing united against the trials of RB.

As George’s journey continued, his story evolved into one of courage, resilience, and the transformative power of love and support. In the midst of adversity, this remarkable family found strength, forging ahead and lighting the way for others navigating the challenging terrain of retinoblastoma.  We look forward to sharing updates about this RB warrior and hope that 2024 is a phenomenal year for this extraordinary family!