A Jacksonville couple is reminding parents to listen to their gut about their child’s health, after their daughter Aria was diagnosed with a rare eye cancer
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville couple is reminding parents to listen to their gut about their child’s health, after their daughter Aria was diagnosed with a rare eye cancer at just eight months old.
Aria lee Bohannon loves watching TV, eating, and playing with toys but she has retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer mostly affecting kids.
Aria’s parents, Heavenlee Van Buren and Michael Bohannan, say their life has changed forever after a photo taken of Aria told them what they couldn’t see up close.
“Usually when you would take flash photography, you would see a red in the eye like a normal eye but with retinoblastoma and other patients of eye cancer, you would see the white which is what Leukocoria is,” Heavenlee Van Buren said.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that photo of Aria confirms that.
Aria was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma in both of her eyes, but has only lost vision in her left eye.
“She has a large tumor covering her entire retina in her left eye and then smaller ones in her right,” Van Buren said.
It’s the same disease that Van Buren says took her left eye around the same age.
“I went through a series of different treatments that she’s going through, I went through different, more serious treatments,” Van Buren said.
Van Buren and Aria’s father Michael Bohannan say Aria regularly undergoes chemo, cryotherapy and laser treatment in Miami but it’s become a financial burden.
“We couldn’t get our car fixed. We started having to rent cars with cost. Then we started getting behind on bills because he hasn’t worked and its just we’re behind on rent,” Van Buren said.
Van Buren and Bohannon say they still struggle but are thankful for those who have stepped up to help them through this journey.
“We had so much support and help. I mean, we still need that. “We’re so thankful for that. I’m thankful for her being such a happy loving child, and she’s so brave. You would never know she’s going through what she’s going through. It’s the best.”
Van Buren says they have numerous trips planned to Miami for Aria to continue the treatment to shrink the tumors behind her eyes. If you’d like to help support her treatment, click this link.