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"We are saving vision and lives through awareness...Joey is smiling, his message is being heard"

A West Palm Beach grandmother saw coverage on channel five last February on Joey’s story. Her granddaughter, Elexis, came to visit in April and they went to Disney World. She developed the pictures from the trip and found several white dot pictures like Joey’s. Lexis was taken immediately to an eye doctor. Lexis was the perfect case scenario. The tumor had just started to develop…they froze it off with cryotherapy. Lexis not only has her eye and her vision; she has perfect vision in her eye as far as we know. The doctors will watch her carefully for the next few years, but foresee no problems.

 

Mary Ann Childers of CBS News Chicago reports on how if Retinoblastoma is not found early enough, it can prove fatal.

 

Jennifer was not so lucky. Last July, her mother complained to her social worker that there was something wrong with Jennifer’s eye. She was eight months old at the time. The social worker had been looking at Joey’s poster in her Healthy Start Office since last November and had recently seen coverage on “Joey Bergsma Retinoblastoma Awareness Month at the Palm Beach Zoo” on TV. She told the mother to take a picture of Jennifer in dim light…Jennifer’s pupil was white. Her eye was removed…it was already blinded by retinoblastoma tumors. Dr. Timothy Murray performed the eye enucleation at Bascom Palmer in Miami. It is sad that she needlessly lost her eye, but Thank God she has her life. Jennifer had this developing at birth.The “ten second, two cent” eye dilation exam would have saved her eye and her vision.

NOTE: Jennifer also had strabismus; the eye was rolling inward. In some cases tumors or cataracts will cause irregular eye movement. Be alerted to your child’s eye movement; like your photos, this could be a clue to something wrong.


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