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I was just over a year old when I was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma. My grandpa had just recently died, and at the funeral, my parents took many pictures of me and my brother. In every one of those pictures, my right pupil was white, rather than red. My parents got the pictures processed and after seeing this, went back to the person who printed them. Nobody could figure out what was wrong. They took me to the doctor and for a while they also could not figure out what was wrong.
I was brought to lots of different doctors before they discovered the cancer. Perhaps if they hadn't taken so long to discover the cancer, my eye could have been saved, but that was not the case. I had surgery to remove the eye and luckily no traces of the cancer were left. I underwent MRI's every six months for a few years before it was changed to every year.
Eventually they decided that the possibility of cancer returning was very slim. I went to an eye specialist once a year to get it checked, and as of my last appointment, I only have to go every 2 years.
I've played violin for 14 ∏ years and trumpet for 5 years. I've received recognition for my trumpet playing at many events as well as participating in multiple honor ensembles. I take AP and honors classes and am a relatively good student. I may not be able to play sports, but despite my monocular vision, I can lead a pretty normal life. I even march in a Drum Corps style high school marching band.
I have raised over $8000 for cancer research in the past 5 years.
Written by Hailee Zeichner
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