All About Babies

How a Camera Flash Saved This Baby's Life

Photos helped one mom detect a rare cancer lurking in her 4-month-old son that couldn't be seen with the naked eye.

ryder with retinoblastoma Fundrazr
Andrea Temarantz noticed something weird every time she took a picture of her four-month-old son Ryder. There was a white glow covering his left eye in almost every shot. Thinking the issue was her camera, the Phoenix, Arizona mom bought a new one. But still, the issue persisted.

"I would start to turn off the flash because the glare is so bad," she told Fox News Insider. "But then it had dawned on me that I had seen a photo like that before [on Facebook]."

So Temarantz took Ryder to the doctor to get his eye checked out. Turns out, he had retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer. Most kids with retinoblastoma are diagnosed somewhere between 12 and 18 months. But Ryder's early diagnosis—at just four months—gives him a 99 percent chance of recovery.

Still, Ryder was born with Down syndrome, which made chemo a risky option. So the family traveled to New York City in late January, where oncologists at Memorial Sloan Kettering utilized a unique chemotherapy delivery method.

Dr. David Abramson, chief of MSK's ophthalmic oncology service, told CBS News that they administered "less than a teaspoon of chemotherapy through a six-foot-long catheter as thin as angel hair pasta," entering through the baby's groin. The hospital has used this technique on 1,600 children and the procedure cures 99 percent of patients, he said.

Ryder is lucky his mom remembered reading about the camera flash on Facebook, and that she acted on her instinct that something was wrong and took him to get checked out. Now his family is hoping that sharing his story will spread awareness about retinoblastoma, and about how parents can detect it with the help of a simple camera flash.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website for more, and follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.