Illinois Mother’s Cellphone Photo of 2-Year-Old Son Leads to Detection of Rare Cancer

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An Illinois mother’s cellphone picture of her 2-year-old son may have possibly saved his life, as it led to the detection of a rare cancer in his eye.

About two months ago, Julie Fitzgerald started noticing something was different about her youngest son, she told CNN affiliate WREX. Whenever she looked at Avery Fitzgerald in a certain light, she could see there was something in the back of his eye.

But she couldn’t figure out what that something was.

Looking for answers, the curious mother turned to the Internet as she tried to find out what was going on with the toddler, the television station reported.

Among the things she read online included a story of a woman who saw a white eye in a photograph of a relative instead of a red eye. It turned out the family member had cancer.

Concerned, Fitzgerald told the story to her husband Patrick, who responded that it was probably nothing, according to the station.

But Fitzgerald couldn’t stop thinking that something was wrong with Avery. So, she grabbed her cellphone and took a picture.

“I did not want to take the picture because I had this dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach,” she told WREX. “And I took the picture and boom. His whole pupil was just white and that’s when I knew.”

Fitzgerald took her son to see a specialist who delivered the bad news: Avery had retinoblastoma.

“He took one look and said there are multiple, multiple tumors,” she said.

The eye would have to be removed.

Doctors told them had the Fitzgeralds waited much longer the cancer could have spread to his brain and blood, according to the station.

Eventually, Avery will get a prosthetic eye, the station reported. His family believes that for now, all the cancer has been removed.

CNN contributed to this story.

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