Mum’s warning as footage of ‘smiling’ baby boy showed secret illness

A mum has revealed how photos of her happy, smiling child hinted at a life-threatening secret after a white ‘glow’ turned out to be cancer.

Leonnie Ord said she had begun to notice a glow on the student left his son a year, Cillian Coyles in August, but as it came and went, she just thought it was a reflection of the light. But in October, it started to become more important and as if he had a “cat’s eye”, she and her boyfriend of 36 years, Gary Coyles have sought medical advice.

After undergoing several tests, Cillian’s parents were stunned when she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare type of eye cancer that usually affects young children. The little Cillian has lost vision in his left eye due to the growth of a tumor on his optic nerve and now follows a targeted chemotherapy to reduce it.

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Despite grueling treatment, social worker Leonnie says the carefree child does it with a constant smile on her face. After a few “roller coaster” months, the 33-year-old is now urging parents to “know the glow” because becoming aware of this tell-tale sign could save a child’s eyesight – and ultimately their life.

Footage of Cillian in September reveals a faint white glint in his eyes 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 this happy, smiling photo of him is hiding a secret which could be deadly if not detected in time. If you see anything different with the your child’s eye, you need to get it checked If you notice something with your friend’s child’s eye or see a picture on Facebook, don’t be afraid to alert that parent.

“Because as a parent you’d rather be scared for a week waiting for an appointment rather than it being too late and your child losing their eye or sight, or the cancer having spread. Every change in the eye doesn’t mean it could be cancer but if we had spotted and had Cillian checked earlier he could potentially still have had sight in his left eye, we just don’t know.”

The devoted mum-of-two said she didn’t notice the glint in Cillian’s eyes very often until the weeks before her diagnosis when it became more apparent.



Leonnie Ord, with her fiancé Gary Coyles and their children Cillian (one) and Aoife (five)

Leonnie said: “Last summer I started noticing a glint in his eye but it wasn’t very often at all and I kind of put it down to a light reflection. Then I started noticing him a little more and we moved on to a house, which had a lot more light and then i started noticing him more it was a white glow all over his pupil it was like he had a cat’s eye.

“When it started to get bigger and I was looking at him I could see this white guy looking at me, what I know now is the tumor in his eye. I had mentioned it to my partner Gary who didn’t tell him. hadn’t seen and we went for a week and I was like “do you see that? Come see this” and then he started noticing.

“We knew there was something there that needed to be checked. »

Leonnie, who is also mother of Aoife Coyles five years, contacted her GP and optician before calling A & E in October and spoke to a consultant who advised him to bring Cillian to be seen. He was then referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist who revealed that the child of one year had lost sight in his left eye and he was almost certain to have a retinoblastoma.

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

Leonnie said. “When I started searching on Google, I went from cataracts to cancer I went from one end to the other of the scale I knew it was anything but. I never would have guessed that it would So it obviously freaked me out and I couldn’t sleep that night.

“Before we went to Birmingham, we kind of agreed that we thought it was going to be diagnosed with cancer. My main concerns were that he was going to lose his little personality, the hair and he was really bad. They were three things I couldn’t get out of my head.”



Cillian Coyles, whom her mother Leonnie Ord described as
Cillian Coyles, who her mother Leonnie Ord described as “always happy and smiling”

The mother of two said she had then traveled pictures Cillian since birth and had found only one video last September where the tumor was visible.

Cillian now follows a targeted chemotherapy, a treatment for being eye injections of intravitreal chemotherapy.

The family created a JustGiving page to raise money for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust and Leonnie finish the Great North Run in September.

Leonnie said: “The treatment also shrinking and calcified tumor is more than likely it will always be in his eye, but it will calcified and kills the tumor somehow The way they described it is.. that research had arrived. masse, but if Cillian had introduced it five years ago, his eye was immediately removed.

“We were told that chemo would stop and they were really happy with it and the next audit, chemo necessary to restart again. Chemo began toxify the healthy part of the eye, they will have to deal with now as well.

“When he was first diagnosed, they talked about a roller coaster ride and we didn’t quite understand what that meant until the last few months because there are a lot of ups and downs.”

What is neuroblastoma?

Retinoblastoma is a rare type of eye cancer that can affect young children, usually under the age of five. If detected early, retinoblastoma can often be treated successfully. More than nine out of ten children with the condition are cured.

Retinoblastoma can either affect one or both eyes. If it affects both eyes, it is usually diagnosed before the child is one year old. If it affects one eye, it tends to be diagnosed later (between the ages of two and three). It is unusual for retinoblastoma to progress beyond the age of five years unnoticed.

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

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