A few short weeks ago, Ayden’s mother, Kristin, felt concerned with the odd coloring of Ayden’s right eye. The difference in coloring only revealed itself in some lighting. At two-years-old his eyes were tracking together appropriately and no issues were identified at the doctor’s office even when he was treated for a near drowning due to a fall the summer before. She decided to take him to the doctor the next morning, and they immediately referred Ayden to a pediatric eye doctor. The pediatric ophthalmologist quickly diagnosed Ayden with Unilateral Retinoblastoma, a form of pediatric vision cancer caused by inner eye tumors. The doctors explained that there was not vision in Ayden’s eye, and that most likely he never had any vision in that eye. Due to the tumor’s severity immediate enucleation was required. The family was also told that most likely his eye would have to be removed, and he would be fitted with a prosthetic eye. Doctors communicated that Ayden would live a very normal life after recovery. After this initial pediatric ophthalmology appointment, Ayden was referred directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 600 miles away from their South Carolina home in Memphis, Tennessee. Tests were run upon arrival to confirm diagnosis and tumor development. Due to the tumor’s advanced stage, the best treatment plan was eye enucleation. A post-enucleation MRI came back clear, but the pathology results showed cancer in the optic nerve. By the time test results were in, the family was already back in South Carolina. The St. Jude team requested the Ayden return to Memphis. News about cancer on the optic nerve prompted the doctors to prescribe preventative chemotherapy to keep the cancer from spreading. Back at St. Jude the medical team performed more tests and conducted surgery to put a port into his chest near his heart. The port will be used to administer chemotherapy, medication and to take blood samples. Doctors prescribed six rounds of chemo over the next six months during which Ayden and Kristin will have to stay in Memphis. Kristin and Ayden are staying at the Ronald McDonald house during chemo treatment at St. Jude. Throughout everything Ayden has been incredibly resilient, and you would never know by his attitude that anything is causing the young boy pain. Ayden has a loving family and a huge supportive community working to raise funds to help support the family through this time. The entire community hopes to raise awareness for “The Glow.” Another family member remembered seeing a post about a child with “The Glow” and looked back through photographs of Ayden. Current photographs and even one of Ayden at only four or five months of age show to “The Glow.” Ayden’s family hopes that in sharing his story another child might be found in time and brought to care. They are most grateful for all the continued support and for the incredible care they’ve received at St. Jude. Learn more about Ayden’s story at Ayden’s Battle.
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