ROCKFORD, Ill. – Avery Fitzgerald is a typical toddler, but his mother noticed something strange a couple of months ago.
“I would notice when I was looking at Avery in a light, I would see something in the back of his eye… and I thought ‘eh,” Julie Fitzgerald, Avery’s mother, told WREX.
Fitzgerald researched what could be wrong with her son. In an article, a woman said she saw a white eye in photos of a relative instead of the normal red eye and it turned out to be cancer.
Her husband, Patrick, told her it was probably nothing. However, Julie couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.
“I did not want to take a picture because I had this dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach,” Julie said. ” And I took the picture and, sure enough. I took it of all three boys and the other two were fine. And then his picture, boom. His whole pupil was just white and that’s when I knew,” she said.
Fitzgerald took the picture to a specialist, who told her there were multiple tumors in her son’s eye. In fact, 75 percent of Avery’s eye was covered in tumors and had to be removed.
Doctors say if the family had waited much longer, it could have spread to his brain and blood.
Experts say Avery was likely blind in his left eye his whole life, but the tumors started growing just six weeks earlier.
Patrick says he has one simple piece of advice for other fathers.
“Listen to your wife, that would be the first thing,” he said. “And don’t wait, don’t wait to see if it improves.”