iPhone photo tips off mother to cancer in 2-year-old son - WFSB 3 Connecticut

iPhone photo tips off mother to cancer in 2-year-old son

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Avery Fitzgerald. (CNN photo) Avery Fitzgerald. (CNN photo)

A mother in Illinois said a glance at her iPhone saved her 2-year-old boy's life.

Avery Fitzgerald of Rockford, IL is a pretty typical toddler, according to his parents.

His mother, however, noticed something different about him.

"Probably a couple months [ago] I would notice when I was looking at Avery in a light I would see something in the back of his eye and I thought 'eh,'” said Julie Fitzgerald, Avery's mother.

Julie Fitzgerald said she started to wonder what it could be, so she went online and read an article about a woman who saw a white eye in photos of relatives instead of the normal red eye.

She said in those cases, it turned out to be cancer.

Julie Fitzgerald told the story to her husband. He said he told her it was nothing.

Still, she couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong.

"I took a picture and I did not want to take a picture because I had this dreaded feeling in the pit of my stomach and I took the picture and boom,” Julie Fitzgerald said. “His whole pupil was just white and that's when I knew."

That was three weeks ago.

She went to a specialist who gave them the news.

"He took one look and said there are multiple, multiple tumors," Julie Fitzgerald said.

The doctors confirmed it was cancer.

They said 75 percent of Avery's eye was covered in tumors and it had to be removed. Had they waited much longer, it could have spread to his brain and blood.

The Fitzgerald family found out that Avery had likely been blind in his left eye his whole life, but the tumors started growing just six weeks earlier.

Avery's father said he had very simple advice for other father's out there.

"Listen to your wife,” Patrick Fitzgerald said. “That would be the first thing."

“Trust your gut,” Julie Fitzgerald added.

“And don't wait,” Patrick Fitzgerald said. “Don't wait to see if it improves.”

Avery will eventually get a prosthetic eye. His family said they don't know if he has to go through chemotherapy.

Right now, however, they believe all of the cancer has been removed.

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