Baby boy diagnosed with SIX eye tumours after photo reveals 'ghostly white reflection' in newborn's eye
Parents were taking lots of pictures of their newborn son when they noticed something different
Father said: 'Sometimes you get red eye in the photos but this looked almost like a hole in his eye'Little Romero was diagnosed with a big tumour behind his left eye and five smaller ones behind his right eyeChemotherapy and laser treatment have removed the smaller tumours and reduced the big tumour in size
09:34 GMT, 3 October 2012
Among the dozens of photos that proud parents Curtis and Leonie Norville were taking of their newborn son, one in particular stood out.
The striking image showed nine-week-old Romero lying on a play mat with a ghostly white reflection in his left eye.
Alarm bells immediately started ringing for Mr Norville, a professional photographer and cameraman who had never seen anything like it before.
Romero Norville was discovered to have had a rare eye cancer which had caused a large tumour behind his eye
After a trip to the GP, Romero was swiftly referred to a local children’s hospital where a consultant delivered the devastating news that a rare eye cancer had caused a large tumour behind the eye – and five smaller ones behind his right eye.
Four months on, Romero is responding to chemotherapy and laser treatment.
But his parents have decided to speak out about his case to warn other parents about the condition.
‘When we were told he had tumours it was heartbreaking and Leonie was hysterical.
RETINOBLASTOMA: WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
A white pupil or reflection that can be seen in a photograph where the flash has been usedAn absence of “red eye” in flash photographsRed, sore or swollen eye without infectionA change in colour to the irisA squint – although this can also just be a squint
'She was crying her eyes out,’ said Mr Norville, who is in his 30s and from Perry Barr in Birmingham.
‘We’d never heard of this condition before. No one in our family had had it. Our world fell apart.
‘But he is responding well to treatment. Romero has been very good and the only problem is he wakes up a lot at night because chemotherapy makes babies feed little and often.’
Mrs Norville, an adult social services manager, added: ‘At first when we heard the news I would cry every day – away from Romero so he wouldn’t pick up on our unhappiness.
Now we take it one day at a time.’
The couple first spotted something was wrong at the end of May.
‘Romero is our first child so we were taking lots of photos with a camera phone,’ said Mr Norville.
‘Sometimes you get red eye in the photos but this looked almost like a hole in his eye.
‘We went to the GP who said the eye wasn’t reflecting light and referred us to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.’
Within days, tests revealed the mass of tumours behind his eyes.
The infant was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a malignant tumour that starts in the retina, the light sensitive lining of the eye.
The condition, which is inherited in around two in five cases, affects around 50 children in the UK each year, generally under the age of five.
If caught soon enough, the chances of being cured are around 95 per cent.
Romero was diagnosed with a large tumour behind his left eye and five smaller ones behind his right eye at Birmingham's Children Hospital
Romero was immediately started on a course of chemotherapy and has had six-hour sessions every month for the past four months.
The tumour in his left eye has shrunk by a third and the smaller tumours in his other eye have gone following regular laser treatment.
Mr Norville, who, along with his wife is now campaigning to help raise £4million for the hospital’s Children’s Cancer Centre Appeal, added: ‘Romero is incredibly resilient. He is very happy, jolly and playful.’
Consultant paediatric oncologist Dr Helen Jenkinson said the challenge of treating bilateral retinoblastoma was to try and salvage as much vision as possible.
She added: ‘We would expect with Romero that he will make a full recovery, we would expect to cure him and I hope that he will have relatively normal vision when he is older.
‘He has continued to grow and thrive throughout his treatment and he looks fantastic now.
'We are delighted with his progress.’