Taking pictures of their children is one of the most favorite things to do for any mom, but for Georgia resident Josie Rock it turned out to be a life-saver.
It all happened one morning when she was taking photos of her then-4-month-old baby, Asher, with her iPhone when the flash accidentally went off.
He blinked and then opened his eyes wide for the pictures, when Rock was going through the photos she noticed that one of his wide-open eyes was glowing white instead of red. “I was just taking pictures of him and the lighting happened to change in our room, the flash caught the reflection, and his eye was glowing white,” Rock said.
“I knew right then and there that Asher had cancer. It was chilling, to say the least. He was just a baby.” The 41-year-old labor and delivery nurse knew about “the glow” caused by retinoblastoma, and so she began taking using a professional camera with a flash to take more photos.
The results didn’t alarm some colleagues, but after a visit to the pediatrician “just to make sure,” Rock said, “I remember the color drained from her (the doctor’s) face after she did the proper examination,” Rock said. “She turned the lights off and looked at his eyes and said, ‘Something’s not right.’”
Her baby was diagnosed with grade D retinoblastoma and had to undergo treatment for the tumors that were in his eye. “He finished chemo in 2015. The problem with retinoblastoma is it can pop up in other places. Over time, he had a few new ones pop up and they were lasered.”
Asher is now-7-years-old has had 54 exams and is going to have more, he is blind in that eye, but his mom’s actions helped keep the cancer from spreading. His story went viral after it was shared by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on July 11.
The family has appeared on many interviews and hope that their story will help bring awareness to the public. “The way I see it, if it saves just one other child from having to go through what my son has, then I have done my job as a cancer parent,” Rock posted on Thursday. “I will never stop advocating for these children.
“I will tell his story until there is a cure. I will tell his story until more than the measly 4% of the NIH budget goes towards childhood cancer research. “Once you are placed in shoes, such as mine, and the millions of other parents of children suffering (and many losing their battles), then you’ll really understand our passion.”