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Affliction: Eye Cancer
Gabrielle Bayless of Longmont, Colo., is entranced by every beautiful thing she sees—sunsets and rainbows delight her beyond words. All the things this joyful 8-year-old loves to look at were taken away from her once. She’ll never forget how great it is to have them back.
When she was 2 years old, Gabrielle’s family noticed that her left eye was wandering and she kept getting carsick. A doctor at The Children’s Hospital diagnosed a form of cancer along her optic nerve called optic glioma. After a year of chemotherapy, her family hoped Gabrielle would be among the 75 percent of kids who need no further treatment. But six months later the tumor had grown. Another long year of chemotherapy began.
In 2002 Gabrielle was feeling well again, enrolled in kindergarten and gymnastics, when she started having trouble seeing. The tumor had robbed Gabrielle of sight in her left eye; now she was losing vision in her right. More chemotherapy, as well as steroids and radiation, were initiated to save her failing eyesight. At her worst point she was legally blind.
But her story didn’t end there. Several months later vision in her right eye returned to 20/20. Not surprisingly, Gabrielle surrounds herself now with nature and art, places beauty can always be found.