Chinese Family Takes Long Journey to Save Daughter's Eyes
Lulu was less than 2 months old when doctors in China diagnosed her with retinoblastoma. When doctors located tumors in her eyes, they scheduled her to have her eyes removed that afternoon. But her parents, who are both blind, were determined to do everything in their power to save their daughter's eyes.
“My husband and I both lost our vision when we were very young,” Feifei Lin said. “Having gone through this, we have to grasp her ever-so-little remaining vision.”
In order to get their daughter treatment, the family raised over $100,000 to travel to United States. A video produced by Stat Newschronicles the family's saga.
Their journey brought them to New York, where doctors treated Lulu using intra-arterial chemotherapy. This procedure involves treading a catheter into an artery on top of the leg and into the ophthalmic artery. This allows doctors to profuse the chemotherapy medication only into the eye.
Retinoblastoma is the most common intraocular childhood cancer. It affects approximately 300 children in the United States annually, but about 2,000 children in China are diagnosed with the disease each year. Dr. Paul Finger said lack of access to adequate care in many countries turns retinoblastoma into a deadly killer.
"In the United States, less than 2% of children die from retinoblastoma, but around the world, 70% of children die from retinoblastoma. So, what's the difference? The difference is early diagnosis and treatment."
The Eye Cancer Foundation is working to change that by training eye cancer specialists to work in underserved countries such as China , India, Bolivia, Vietnam, Mexico, Ethiopia, Yemen, and others. As part of these efforts, The Eye Cancer Foundation launched its 2020 Campaign. The organization plans to train 20 eye cancer specialists to work in 20 countries by 2020. This will save thousands of children’s lives.
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