It's been a long road for one Niantic mother who is battling stage four cancer, but it became even more difficult this year when her 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia.
Ashley Gauthier was 18 months old when her mother noticed something wasn't quite right with her eyes, and took her to a specialist.
Doctors found 12 tumors.
"Seven in one eye ... five in the other,” Gauthier said.
She received radiation treatment, and said 99 percent of people who have this specific cancer go blind.
“I was called the miracle baby to those doctors and I was the 1 percent that got to have vision,” Gauthier said.
But, back in the 1980s, doctors didn't understand the adverse effects of radiation, she said.
Nearly 30 years later, she started having issues breathing.
She learned she had stage four sarcoma cancer.
In December of 2013 she had surgery to remove the tumor and doctors warned her she could lose her right eye.
"I said, this may be the last time I’ll look the way I do,” Gauthier said.
She had reconstructive eye surgery and had a lesion removed from underneath the skin by her left lung.
But this year, Gauthier and her husband got life-altering news… their 4-year-old daughter Molly was diagnosed with leukemia.
"I began to cry ... and I didn't want to do that in front of Molly, and the doctors came out and held me,” Gauthier said.
Molly was treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and is now in remission.
While their journey, hasn’t been easy Gauthier said “I think it's so important to stay as strong as you can ... fight as long as you can ... because if you ever get the bad news, you can be so proud of yourself for how far as you've come."
The Gauthier family says they’re grateful for the support they’ve received, both emotionally and financially.
"You see the bad side of people, but it's not that often that you get to see so many people want to do good ... to help someone,” said Brian Gauthier.
Ashley says for anyone who might be battling cancer themselves, or who might be going through a tough time, “if you put your mind to it ... you can do it!"
Going forward, Molly will continue to go to Yale-New Haven Hospital weekly and Ashley will be meeting with a reconstructive surgeon on Thursday.
She’ll then find out if she’ll be having another surgery next week.
The Gauthier family said a fundraiser will be held to benefit Molly at her daycare center on Saturday. Students of Kiddie Kampus and their families are welcomed to come donate. Donations can also be made to the Gauthier Fund at any Liberty Bank branch.
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