Meet Draven – Retinoblastoma Warrior
"We consider ourselves very blessed and hope others can have the assistance the NCCS bestowed upon our family,” said Draven's mom.
Months before Draven’s second birthday, his parents noticed something seemed wrong with his eye and took him to their ophthalmologist. Draven’s parents were stunned to learn that their son had a tumor forming that appeared to be cancerous. “We left the office devastated,” shared Andrea, Draven’s mom. A specialist confirmed that not only was Draven suffering from retinoblastoma, it was affecting both of his eyes. Draven endured one year of treatment at the local children’s hospital and thankfully, was considered cancer-free.
However, the relief Draven’s family felt quickly vanished. During a follow-up eye exam, his family learned that Draven’s cancer was back and even more aggressive than before. Doctors told Andrea that her son had “hundreds of thousands of seeds in his right eye” and the best way to save his vision and his life was to continue treatment by a retinoblastoma specialist in New York.
Because Draven’s cancer was so aggressive, his treatment plan had to match. He was seen in New York every single week – far from his family’s Michigan home. Draven’s parents expressed their concerns about the costs of traveling with their hospital social worker, who referred them to the NCCS. “Our hearts are incredibly grateful for The National Children’s Cancer Society. They have assisted us with flights, fares and transportation repeatedly over the past few years,” said Andrea. With the help of the NCCS, Draven never missed an appointment. As a side effect of treatment, Draven’s vision decreased drastically. Andrea said her son is doing very well now and is seen for follow-ups every six months. “We consider ourselves very blessed and hope others can have the assistance the NCCS bestowed upon our family,” said Andrea.