It was October 2021, and Canada was in the middle of not only a pandemic but also ophthalmologists across Ontario had decided to go on strike. Baby Nash was only 5 months old when his parents began to notice his eye looked different. The only hope at the time was taking Nash to his local pediatrician to see if they should be concerned. The pediatrician thought it looked like Nash had strabismus (lazy eye) and referred them to a pediatric ophthalmologist. Unfortunately, the first opening for an in-person appointment was in February 2022, four months away.
In November, the strike ended, and they took Nash to a local Optometrist to get his eye evaluated. On November 26, 2021, just days after the strike ended, Nash was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at SickKids and the whirlwind began. On December 1, chemotherapy was started to treat the cancer. Nash’s parents were able to meet with Dr. Brenda Gallie and start Nash in a clinical trial for Chemoplaque. The Chemoplaque did take about six weeks as promised before Nash started to show signs of improvement. He followed with additional cycles of IAC after a recurrence for the following three months.
In addition to the impact of such a traumatic diagnosis, living this nightmare during a pandemic was also extremely hard for Nash’s parents. The hospitals would only allow one parent at a time in the hospital during treatments, although they were occasionally allowed to have both mom and dad for some of the more crucial milestones. Nash will not remember much about the fight his young, little body has endured, but he will always remain an inspiration to his parents for the strength he has shown them. His family is also extremely grateful for the outpouring of love so many of their family and friends showed them during this difficult time.
Nash is currently being treated by Dr. Ashwin Mallipatna and Dr. Stephanie Kletke at Sick Kids. Nash is doing very well now and beginning to catch up with the milestones that had slowed down during his treatments. Nash continues to receive EUA’s every 8 weeks but his mom is so thankful that he could be a part of a clinical trial to help save other children.
Nash’s mother, Kaitlyn, hopes that by sharing Nash’s journey that more mothers and fathers will follow their instincts, even in the face of such difficulties as a pandemic and a national strike, to find their way to a proper diagnosis for their child!