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For Emma's Eyes

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Friday, April 1, 2016, 5:57pm. All 8 pounds, 5 ounces of this feisty, beautiful girl entered the world and changed my life forever. Fast foward just 9 short months to January 10, 2017 and we just recieved a diagnosis of retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer. She has tumors in both of her beautiful blue eyes.

This rare cancer has hardly any symptoms at all. In fact, we only found it because we noticed Emma's eyes wandering inward and making her look cross-eyed. The pediatrician looked at her eyes at her regular 9 month checkup and recommended we see a pediatric ophthamologist to correct a possible strabismus (or "lazy eye"). The ophthamologist observed the strabismus and saw that Emma's retinas were oddly shaped, so she referred us to a retina specialist upstairs to confirm her findings before she prescribed any glasses.

We saw the retina specialist and after another eye exam and ultrasound, the doctor told us that there was a mass in each eye, and all signs were consistent with retinoblastoma. We were beyond shocked. Hearing the word "cancer" in reference to your child is  like a punch to the gut. We were only expecting to hear that maybe she was cross-eyed and needed glasses. Now we somehow had to process that our only baby girl had cancer.

Emma's ophthalmologist recommended we go to Cincinnati for further evaluation and future treatments. We met two specialists in ocular oncology and they confirmed that Emma had retinoblastoma. We need an MRI and an examination under anesthesia for further insight, and then Emma will recieve intra-arterial chemotherapy. A doctor will thread a small catheter up to the artery behind each eye and deliver chemotherapy right behind the tumors. This is more focalized and will take less of a toll on her.

If all this news wasn't a lot to take in, we found out that Emma's health insurance doesn't travel over Kentucky's state line into Ohio. Emma is being treated in one of the best children's hospitals in the country with an awarded program for Retinoblastoma and can provide excellant care for her. But we're not sure what the insurance will agree to pay for. Medical bills can add up very quickly, especially for a one-income family, even with insurance.

We created this gofundme fund to keep our friends and family informed, as well as to spread the word and hopefully gain some prayer partners. We value all the prayers we can get. We know we serve a mighty God who is bigger than cancer, bigger than medical bills, and he created Emma to do wonderful things. He chose her for us and us for her. Pray with us for a full healing.
We greatly value your prayers and well as any monetary gifts you feel led to give. We have no idea what to expect in terms of how much the medical bills will cost, so any gift is greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading and praying.


  • Anonymous
    • $30 
    • 6 yrs


Sarah Van Til
Georgetown, KY

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