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Eight Year Old Gets a “Superhero” Eye After Losing the Original to Cancer


Daisy Passfield was diagnosed with cancer when she was just 14 months old. The doctors found a grade D tumor in her right eye. She began chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, but it reappeared after two months of Passfield stopping chemo. She also received a special treatment that is designed to shrink the turmor, but the family was afraid the cancer could spread to other parts of her body. As a last resort, the doctors had to remove Passfield’s eye during a four-hour operation when she was just two years old.

Passfield wore a blue prosthetic eye for years to match the color of her left eye, but she recently decided to celebrate this unusual part of her body by switching the color to sparkling pink.

She told her family and doctors that she would rather have a glitter eye in her favorite color. She now calls the prosthetic her “superhero” eye, which she says looks like the eye of a unicorn or a dragon.

“I feel happy because everyone can see my pink sparkly eye,” the youngster said. “I am so excited to show everyone at school my sparkly eye. I think they will love it just like I do. Everyone I have spoken to has said how lovely it is. I have been told it looks like a superhero eye, a dragon’s eye and a unicorn eye and I like all those things.”

Alysia Passfield, 30, Daisy’s mom, said it was difficult to get a proper diagnosis for her condition.

She first noticed something was wrong with her when looking at a picture of her. “I noticed from a photograph – she had a white glow in her eye and her eye had a glaze on it,” she said. Experts say symptoms can include a white glow in the person’s eyes in dim lighting.

Daisy ended up being diagnosed with retinoblastoma – a rare and aggressive form of eye cancer that affects babies and young children, mainly under the age of six – in October 2015.

After the initial shock, Alysia was “relieved” to know what was causing the problem. “I knew there was something wrong. Obviously, I was upset and in a bit of a shock,” she said. “Daisy was absolutely fine, she took it in her stride, and she has six rounds of chemotherapy to try to shrink the tumor.”

After Daisy relapsed after two months of chemotherapy, they tried a new procedure meant to shrink the tumor known as intra arterial chemotherapy –  a new method of delivering chemotherapy drugs directly to the eye rather than around the body.

During the procedure, Daisy received a general anesthetic. The doctors put a catheter through the femoral artery all the way up until it becomes the ophthalmic artery.

Once the catheter is in place, the chemo drug is administered via the tube and is able to work directly on the tumor in the eye. But instead of shrinking the tumor, it broke it up into a series of parts.

“By September 2016, we made the decision to remove her eye, because the chemo that she had, had broken the tumor into different parts and we didn’t want the tumor to spread,” Alysia said.

The entire journey has been scary, but Alysia is happy to know her daughter is healthy with a fancy new prosthetic to boot.

Daisy has always been into sparkly things, make-up and making herself look pretty.

“We went to our appointment, I said to the woman about Daisy having a different colored eye and they said they can do that,” her mom said.

Daisy is now back to living a “completely normal” life.

“She is one of the most confident people I have ever met,” Alysia said. “The only thing she can’t do is drive a combine harvester or fly a plane, but I don’t think we have to ever worry about that happening.”

When asked how the experience has affected her outlook on life, Alysia said, “I don’t really know – it was one of those things where you just have to get through.”

“We were 23 at the time. We had to do what we had to do, and we had to make sure she was ok.”

Steven Briggs
Steven Briggs is a healthcare writer for Scrubs Magazine, hailing from Brooklyn, NY. With both of his parents working in the healthcare industry, Steven writes about the various issues and concerns facing the industry today.

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