FOREST GROVE, Ore. (KOIN) — Gracie Corrigan wears a patch over her right eye that says “coming soon”. It’s a temporary cover that will eventually be replaced by what the 2-and-1/2-year-old calls her “magic eye”.
In June, doctors had to remove Gracie’s real eye after finding a rare cancer called retinoblastoma.
Gracie’s mom, Elly Smith, says she first noticed a small glow in her daughter’s right eye about 2 months ago. It showed up sporadically, which she has since learned can be a sign of the cancer.
“If you take a picture and one eye is red from the camera and the other one is white that’s what you should look for, the white glowing eye,” Smith said.
Smith took Gracie to the doctor on May 16 after also noticing her eye starting to drift to the right.
“They told us she had over 10 tumors in her eye,” she said. “You would have never known.”
Gracie wasn’t in pain when she flew to Philadelphia to get her right eye removed. It’s something her mom says no parents ever want to go through, “but we had to.”
Today, Gracie doesn’t let her cancer stop her from doing the things she loves like painting nails. Just 3 days after surgery, the toddler was back on her slip ‘n slide.
As she gets ready to start chemotherapy, Smith says Gracie’s still the same girl she’s always been: running, playing and wanting to swim with her brothers.
“She has taught me a lot. She has taught me that I have strength that I didn’t even know I had,” Smith said. “This hasn’t even bothered her whatsoever.”
Gracie is currently waiting for a prosthetic eye to replace her patch.
Although she won’t be able to see out of her new eye, Smith says she’s confident Gracie will continue to be brave and resilient as she works through her recovery.
Smith hopes Gracie’s story helps other parents “know the glow“.
She also “would encourage every parent to get their kids’ eyes checked at 2 and then again at 2 1/2 and then again at 3, just to prevent this… There are certain kinds of treatments they could have done to save her eye if we would have known earlier.”
Friends and family are holding a fundraiser for Gracie at Camp 18 this Sunday.
For more information about “know the glow” and retinoblastoma, click here.