Omaha teacher spots child's eye cancer
John-Brandon Ladd is a happy, playful, energetic 3-year-old boy, but one day at school his teachers saw something that wasn't quite right.
"I noticed that his eye looked like it had a white glare to it," said Jen Underwood, a teacher at Omaha Public Schools Head Start.
His family noticed something, too, and scheduled an appointment.
"I said, 'Make sure that you keep that appointment because I really feel like this is something important that needs to be checked out,'" said Underwood.
It turns out John-Brandon's teacher was right, the boy had retinoblastoma, a malignant tumor on the retina.
"They had to rush him to the hospital for surgery because it was life-threatening," said Jasmine Grimes, John-Brandon's mother.
Doctors removed his right eye.
"It's been pretty rough," said Henritta Avery, John-Brandon's grandmother.
After the diagnosis, his family realized that the cancer had been hiding in plain sight since he was a baby.
"I went back and looked at a lot of his baby pictures. You could see it, like you could see the tumor in his eye," said Grimes.
He would sometimes have a white reflection on his eye instead of the usual red dot, which doctors said can be an early sign of retinoblastoma.
"I just wish I would've caught it. I just wished I would have known sooner than when I knew," said Grimes.
John-Brandon's latest tests show the cancer has spread past his eye, but his family hopes they found it in time to save his life.
"We want everybody to check their kids, make sure that this thing doesn't happen to them," said Avery.
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