Meet our young warriors

Meet Julia – Retinoblastoma Warrior

"Saying thank you isn’t enough as we cannot even express in words our gratitude,” said Julia's mom.

At 18 months-old, Julia was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, cancer of the eye. Local doctors told her parents the best chance of saving her vision and her life was to see an ocular oncologist in New York. Ever four weeks for at least two years, Julia and her parents, Christopher and Jessica, would need to travel from their Wisconsin home to New York for treatment.

With each visit to New York, Julia underwent eye exams under anesthesia, laser treatments in both eyes, and injectable chemotherapy. While doctors had the highest hopes for success, they saw the tumors in her right eye were growing. After speaking with Julia’s parents about their options, Christopher and Jessica made the difficult decision to remove their daughter’s right eye. Julia’s oncologist worked tirelessly to preserve as much vision as possible in her left eye, but the aggressive chemotherapy caused side effects which made it difficult for her to see. While this little girl has faced many hardships in her short life, her mom said doctors “are extremely optimistic for Julia to live a long, relatively healthy life!”

While Julia’s parents knew airfare to New York would be costly, they were surprised at an expense they did not anticipate – cab fare to and from the hospital. They searched for organizations that could help lessen their financial burden when they discovered the NCCS. In addition to providing travel assistance for air and cab fare, their NCCS case manager provided very important emotional support. “The NCCS has helped to ease some of our travel costs which we are extremely grateful for. Saying thank you isn’t enough as we cannot even express in words our gratitude,” said Jessica.