‘White glow’ photo alerts parents to toddler’s eye cancer

The photo of Jaxson, one, showing a white reflection in his eye which was then diagnosed as retinoblastoma
The photo of Jaxson, one, showing a white reflection in his eye which was then diagnosed as retinoblastoma

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It was this photo which first alerted the parents of a one-year-old West Sussex boy that something might be wrong.

While one eye shows the usual red glare from the flash of the camera, Jaxson Scrivens’ other eye has a strange white glow.

‘We all have flash cameras on our phones these days and after taking a few of Jax I noticed this white reflection in one of his eyes,’ dad Owen Scrivens, 20, explained.

‘When I looked back at other photos I realised every one of them had the same.

‘We went on the NHS website and read it could either be a cataract, a detached retina or retinoblastoma. It said eye cancer was extremely rare so you don’t expect it.’

However, the worst fears of the family from Felpham near Bognor were realised when a consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, confirmed Jaxson had cancer of the eye.

‘When the doctor told us the news Emily (Jaxson’s mum, 20) just burst into tears,’ Owen said. ‘It was horrible.’

The family were told that to stand any chance of saving the eye, 14-month-old Jaxson would need chemotherapy.

After having a Hickman line inserted into the top of his heart at Southampton General Hospital, the first of six rounds of chemotherapy was administered straight away on December 30.

‘Chemotherapy has made me lose my hair, made me sick, tired, weak and everything I eat tastes like metal although now I have a lot of meds to try and control the sickness. The side effects make me a very grizzly boy,’ says a Go Fund Me page, written by Owen from Jaxson’s point of view.

The couple have set up the page to help with the financial strain of regular hospital visits and also, crucially, to raise awareness.

Owen said: ‘What’s really shocked us from talking to people is them saying ‘my niece or nephew had a white glow in their eye but we didn’t think anything of it’.

‘Quite often it’s genetic and it a occurs in both eyes, so worst case scenario, apart from it being fatal, a child could be blind in both eyes, which is just horrible.’

Thankfully, Jaxson’s retinoblastoma only affects one of his eyes, and the chemotherapy has begun to shrink the tumour, raising hopes that they caught it early enough to save his eye.

*Visit Jaxson’s GoFundMe page here.