(Eye) Fight for Eli
Eli is an active 18 month old little boy who gives the best cuddles! Since he was 7 months old, he has been battling recurrent fevers and officially was diagnosed with Periodic Fever Syndrome in March 2021. Although the diagnosis and medication seemed to help Eli, his mom still felt there was something else wrong.
The day of Eli’s 18 month checkup, September 1, Christina and Shawn (mom and dad) were having a brief morning conversation and both mentioned to the other that they have been seeing a white “glow” in his eye lately. Some quick research and they knew that he needed to be seen right away and not wait any longer. A doctor immediately referred him to an ocular oncologist at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. The referral meant that they would need to get bloodwork and an emergency sedated MRI in the following 48 hours so they could get into their appointment the following week.
The doctors examined him and determined he either had retinoblastoma, Coats’ Disease or PHPV. Since Eli already showed signs of a detached retina, it was imperative that they do an exam under anesthesia to determine exactly which of the 3 it was. On September 15, it was confirmed that he was in the end stages of Coats’ Disease and the only option he had was for an enucleation (eye removal). A week later and Eli had his right eye removed on September 23.
In 22 days, Eli went from being a happy, jubilant toddler to needing an eye removal surgery. Eli is at home recovering but the future is still going to be full of appointments, prosthetics, and possibly more treatments.
Our hope is to bring awareness to the “Know the Glow” in a child’s eye. Seeing that white reflection in a photo or in person is an urgent matter that should be brought forth to doctors right away. We missed this in past photos of Eli and wish we had known sooner.
We are raising money to support Eli’s future. He’s the bravest and strongest 18 month old who has been through so much in such a short period of time. We hope that his smile, his laugh and his presence continues to bring smiles to peoples faces in the future!