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Cassie is an energetic 2 year old who loves trains, planes, animals and babies. Because of a family history of a genetically-linked form of retinoblastoma – her father and grandfather had it – her family was aware of the possibility that Cassie might inherit the disease. Photos of Cassie taken around her first birthday showed her pupils as pale and whitish, like cats’ eyes. This “cats eyes” sign can indicate that there is something behind the pupil – in Cassie’s case, a tumor growing in the retina at the back of the eye. Cassie’s parents were concerned, so they took her to a specialist to be checked out. At just 13 months of age, Cassie was diagnosed with retinoblastoma.
Cassie has undergone 11 chemotherapy treatments and several cryotherapy treatments, in which cancer cells are killed by freezing. Her family lives in Parkersburg, WV, but the best treatment for Cassie is available only at the Wills Eye Institute, a 6.5 hour drive from home. Financially it has been a very rough and stressful year for the Jordans, who have had to find a way to cover the transportation and lodging costs of getting Cassie to and from her treatment in Philadelphia.
Cassie is due back in three months to be seen again. Her mom hopes that the cancer goes away, that she is able to keep her eye, and not go through any more treatments. “If you met her you wouldn't even know she has cancer. She's happy all the time and is so outgoing. She is amazing and I am proud to be her mom!”
Information provided by Kristina Jordan, Cassie’s mother
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