People often take pictures of their kids to capture memories but a 31-year-old mother from Rockford, Illinois, took a photo of her toddler, which turned out to be a life saver.
Julie Fitzgerald, a mother of three, suspected that something was wrong with her 2-year-old son Avery. She noticed that there was something odd in her son's eye: a strange twinkle she sees in the back of her child's eye whenever he was in a light.
"Probably a couple months I would notice when I was looking at Avery in a light I would see something in the back of his eye," she said.
Fitzgerald then turned to the internet for information about the condition. She did a research about the symptoms online.
Among the things that she has gathered was an account of a woman who saw a white eye in a relative's photo in place of a red eye, which commonly appears in pictures. It eventually turned out that the relative had cancer.
Fitzgerald then snapped a picture of her son and looking at the photo noticed that the child's pupil was also white. She said that she knew something was wrong the moment she saw the whole pupil of her son's eye was white.
"I did not want to take the picture because I had this dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach," Fitzgerald said. "And I took the picture and boom."
A visit to a specialist confirmed Fitzgerald's fear. She was told that her son had retinoblastoma, a type of cancer that usually strikes children.
Fitzgerald related that the specialist only took one look and said that her son has multiple tumors. Seventy-percent of her son's eye was in fact covered with tumors and had the condition remained undetected, it could have spread to the child's blood and brain.
It appears that Avery's left eye had likely been blind his entire life but it was not until a few weeks ago that the tumors started to grow. Avery's eye needs to be removed but he will get a prosthetic eye.
For now, the family believes that all of Avery's cancer has already been removed albeit it remains uncertain if the child will need to undergo chemotherapy later on. The family also waits on the results of genetic marker tests which should help determine if the child is also at risk for other types of cancer.