ATLANTA (CBS46) -- An incredible attention to details from a mother helps save her infant’s life.

Josie Rock took a photo of her son, Asher, when he was just about four months old. With the cell phone camera’s flash on, Rock noticed something was wrong.

“I kind of did a double take. I’m like, ‘Hold on a second, something isn’t right.’ I got that gut feeling in my stomach.’”

Asher’s right eye looked different. Eyes usually reflect a red light in photos, but there was a white glow; it can mean there’s a cancerous tumor preventing his retina from having the right reflex to light.

“I just knew right then that my son had retinoblastoma,” said Rock.

Retinoblastoma is the most common type of cancer in children. At the time, Rock happened to be in nursing school. She successfully identified her son’s cancer, even when doctors, at the time, missed the signs.

“Sometimes these things can be subtle,” said Dr. Thomas Olson, pediatric oncologist and hematologist at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Following the diagnosis, Olson has worked on Asher’s case for years.

“He had initial chemotherapy and laser. And when it didn’t respond and kept coming back he has the intro-ophthalmic artery treatment,” said Olson.

Although Asher is blind in that eye, his mom’s photography skills and quick thinking meant they were able to stop the cancer from spreading

He can now enjoy life as a little boy, who loves Legos, playing baseball, and working on his karate.

Rock advocates for parents to talk with their pediatrician to make sure their child doesn’t have retinoblastoma.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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