Mom shares how she spotted her son, 1, had cancer in photograph of him smiling

Little Cillian Coyles was diagnosed with retinoblastoma after his mum spotted a white ‘glow’ in his pupil – and he has now lost vision in his left eye due to a tumor

Cillian Coyles was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after his mum spotted a 'glow' in his eye
Cillian Coyles was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after his mum spotted a ‘glow’ in his eye

A mum discovered her one-year-old son had cancer after she took him to the doctors over a ‘glow’ in his eye.

Little Cillian Coyles was diagnosed with retinoblastoma – a rare type of eye cancer – after undergoing several tests.

The youngster has now lost vision in his left eye due to a tumor which doctors are trying to shrink with chemotherapy.

Despite all the challenges, mum Leonnie Ord said her son is still smiling and the family are now raising funds for a cancer charity, the Liverpool Echo reports.

She first noticed the glow in her son’s pupil in August but as it would come and go she just thought it was the light’s reflection.

But in October he started to become more prominent and like he had a “cat’s eye” so she and 36-year-old fiancé Gary Coyles sought medical advice.







The youngster has now lost vision in his left eye
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Picture:

Kennedy News and Media)







The tot is undergoing gruelling treatment with a smile on his face
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Picture:

Kennedy News and Media)

Despite undergoing gruelling treatment, social worker Leonnie says the happy-go-lucky tot is doing so with a constant smile on his face.

After a “rollercoaster” couple of months, the 33-year-old is now urging parents to “know the glow” as awareness of this tell-tale sign could save a child’s sight – and ultimately their life.

Footage of Cillian in September reveals a faint white reflection in his eye while photos taken of him just three months later using flash show an unmistakable circular glow covering his pupil.

Leonnie, from Hebburn, Tyne and Wear, said: “Essentially that happy, smiling picture of him hides a secret that can be deadly if it’s not caught in time.







Leonnie Ord and Gary Coyles with their children Cillian and Aoife
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Picture:

Kennedy News and Media)

“If you see anything different with your child’s eye, you need to get it checked out. If you notice something with your friend’s child’s eye or if you see a photo on Facebook, don’t be frightened to alert that parent.

“Because as a parent you would rather be scared for a week waiting for an appointment than it being too late and your child losing their eye or sight, or the cancer has spread.

“Every change in the eye doesn’t mean that it could be cancer but if we’d spotted and got Cillian checked sooner he could have potentially still had his sight in his left eye, we just don’t know.”

The devoted mum-of-two said she didn’t notice the glow in Cillian’s eye very often until the weeks leading up to his diagnosis when it became more apparent.







Cillian’s mum said the cancer diagnosis ‘frightened the life out of her’
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Picture:

Kennedy News and Media)

Leonnie said: “Last summer I started noticing a glow to his eye but it wasn’t very often at all and I kind of put it down to a light reflection.

“Then I started to notice it a little bit more and we moved to a house, which had a lot more light and then I started noticing it more. It was a white glow over all his pupil, it was as if he had a cat’s eye.

“When it started becoming more prominent and I was looking down at him I could see this white looking back at me, which now I know is the tumor in his eye.

“I’d mentioned it to my partner Gary who hadn’t seen it and we went a week and I was asking ‘can you see that? Come and have a look at that’ and then he started noticing.

“So we knew there was something there that needed to be checked.”

Leonnie, who is also mum to five-year-old Aoife Coyles, contacted her GP and an optician before she rang A&E in October and spoke to a consultant who advised her to bring Cillian in to be seen.

He was then referred to a paediatrician eye doctor who revealed that the one-year-old had lost his vision in his left eye, and that he was almost certain he had retinoblastoma.

Two days later they traveled to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was officially diagnosed with retinoblastoma.

Leonnie said: “When I was starting to Google it, I went from cataracts to cancer. I’d gone from one end of the scale to the other. I knew that it was something, but I would never have guessed that it would have been cancer.

“So that obviously frightened the life out of me and I couldn’t sleep that night.

“Before we got down to Birmingham, we kind of accepted that we thought he was going to be diagnosed with cancer. My main worries were that he was going to lose his little personality, hair and he was going to be really poorly. They were three things that I just couldn’t get out of my head.”

The mum-of-two said that she then went through photos of Cillian since he was born and only found one video from last September where the tumor was visible.

Cillian is now having targeted chemotherapy, with one of the treatments being intravitreal chemotherapy eye injections.

The family set up a JustGiving page to raise funds for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust and Leonnie will be completing the Great North Run this September.

Leonnie said: “The treatment shrinks and also calcifies the tumour. It’s more than likely always going to be in his eye but it will be calcified and it kind of kills the tumour.

“The way that they described it is that the research had come along massively, but if Cillian had presented five years ago his eye would have been removed straight away.

“We were told that his chemo was going to stop and that they were really happy with it and at the next check, his chemo needed to restart again.

“The chemo has started to toxify the healthy part of his eye, so they’re going to have to treat that now as well.

“When he was first diagnosed they talked about it being a rollercoaster and we didn’t quite understand what that meant until these past few months because it’s very much ups and downs.”

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What is neuroblastoma?

Retinoblastoma is a rare type of eye cancer that can affect young children, usually under the age of five.

If it’s picked up early, retinoblastoma can often be successfully treated. More than nine out of 10 children with the condition are cured.

Retinoblastoma can either affect one or both eyes. If it affects both eyes, it’s usually diagnosed before a child is one year old.

If it affects one eye, it tends to be diagnosed later (between the ages of two and three). It’s unusual for retinoblastoma to progress unnoticed beyond the age of five.

Signs and symptoms of retinoblastoma include: An unusual white reflection in the pupil, a squint, a change in the color of the iris, a red or inflamed eye or poor vision – such as your child may not focus on faces or objects, or they may not be able to control their eye movements.

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