INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A photo of a young boy that showed signs of a tumor in his eye went viral online this week.
His mother saw a white spot on his pupil and was able to save his life by having his eye removed before his cancer could spread.
The story struck a chord with people around the world, but also right here in central Indiana.
A local girl from New Palestine had the same type of cancer.
Lisa Brooks was just shy of her second birthday when she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma.
Now at age 14, she said she’s alive because her mom noticed the warning sign.
Lisa is like any other 14-year-old girl.
She loves playing with her dog and is excited to start high school.
She said her prosthetic eye never holds her back and she’s even grateful for it because having her eye removed saved her life.
“Being cancer-free that day, I always think ‘wow I’m thankful that she found it’ or else I wouldn’t be here today,” she said.
12 years ago Lisa’s mother, Kimberly, noticed discoloration in Lisa’s right eye.
“I took her to the pediatrician and he said it was a pigment differentiation,” Kimberly Brooks said. “But mother’s intuition, I went home and started Googling ‘eye tumors’ and found those pictures with the white in the eye.”
She compared those pictures with Lisa’s and discovered the white spot in her daughter’s eye.
It was a sign of the cancer retinoblastoma.
“Right there it was, in front of my face,” Kimberly said.
Lisa’s eye and optical nerve were taken out in surgery and the cancer was removed before it spread.
Lisa is glad to see a story similar to hers spread on social media this week.
A young boy’s mother noticed that same white spot and has his eye removed, saving his life.
“It’s kind of cool that they found it soon enough and that he was young too, just like how I was,” Lisa said.
And her mother believes it’s a cautionary tale for all parents, something simple to check that could save a life.
“I’m very glad it’s being shared,” Kimberly said, “I wish everybody knew that if you have a white dot, don’t take any chances.”
Lisa will be going to her doctor Thursday to be fitted for a new prosthetic eye.
She still has the one put in place when she was two.
Her mom said that will hopefully last her another 12 years or so.
According to IU Health, only 200-300 kids in the US are diagnosed with retinoblastoma each year.
Many of those are hereditary. The sporadic type that Lisa had is even more uncommon.