One of the most challenging things about cancer is the fact that victims don’t always have symptoms and if they do have symptoms, they are often misdiagnosed, wasting more time that could’ve been dedicated to treating the illness. Thanks to one detailed photographer, one little girl will have a chance to beat the cancer that she and her parents didn’t even know she had.
While at a hotel during a family trip to Tenerife, a photographer took a photo fo seven-month-old, Presley Marshall. When the photographer, Alessia, was reviewing the images, she noticed a white glow in little Presley’s right eye, which looked completely different than her left eye. Being knowledgeable about retinoblastoma, Alessia knew that this was a telltale sign of the cancer.
“Darren had been working away over Christmas which is why we had decided to book a last minute holiday in January,” said Presley’s mom, Sophie.
Sophie recalled the photography session in the hotel…
“When we were at the hotel we had asked the photographer to get some pictures of the kids. It was on the second last day when we went to collect the photos and she pulled us aside. She told me to have a look at her eye. I just thought it was something like camera red eye and asked if she could just do something to make it right. But she told us that it should never be white and to take her to the doctor and get her checked out.”
As soon as the family got home to Jarrow, South Tyneside they took Presley straight to Sunderland Eye Infirmary where doctors confirmed what Alessia’s concern. Had Alessia not urged the couple to have Presley’s eye checked out, they would’ve likely not caught it before it escalated.
“As soon as we got off the plane we took her to the hospital and we were told it was really serious,” Sophie recalled. “There was a white ball in her right eye. It was terrible being told she had it. Then we had to wait to find out how serious it was. It was categorized as Grade B – E being the lowest, so we caught it really early.”
Soon after the diagnosis, Presley underwent chemotherapy and was treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary in addition to undergoing several laser eye surgery sessions.
The family was so grateful that Alessia spotted the white spot and urged them to see a doctor that they returned to Tenerife to thank Alessia.
“We owe this lady everything,” Sophie said. “The ball was sitting on top of the optical nerve. Presley had not shown any signs of being unwell and she wouldn’t have had her eyes tested until she was four. If it hadn’t have been picked up, she may have lost her eye. This lady has saved her eye and saved her sight.”
Presley is two years old now and while she is doing well she is still undergoing treatment and will continue to have check-ups regularly and visits Birmingham’s Children Hospital once every six weeks.