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Allie Heatherly was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in 2011. She was treated at MSKCC in Manhattan, NY where she received intra-arterial chemotherapy and a radiation plaque. She was monitored at MUSC in her home state of South Carolina. After a year of treatment we were told the tumor was dead.

In the spring of 2015 she began having pain behind her eye. Her eye was removed two days before Christmas. The cancer was back, and the following year she died.

The rest of the story

To reduce a life to a few milestones, as profound as they may be, can never express its depth. Each person, no matter how short their time on this earth, is more than a list of dates. Whether we accomplish little, or much, or nothing at all, we all have an inherent value. Our purpose here, whether we choose to seek it or not, whether we choose to live it or not, is a choice only we can make for ourselves.

I don't know why Allie got sick. Nobody does.

Perhaps there was a developmental issue before birth.
Perhaps her father had a genetic issue; perhaps her mother did, one that was passed on to her.
Perhaps her mother was under stress while pregnant, or had an infection, or a nutrient deficeincy.
Perhaps Allie was under stress, or had and infection, or a nutrient deficiency.
Perhaps it was a parasite. Perhaps it was an undiagnosed head injury.
Perhaps it was a muscle, nerve, or other physical problem with her head.
Perhaps she was so sensitive that she didn't want to see an unhappy future, and she gave herself the cancer.
Perhaps God was mad.
Perhaps it was demons.

There are many things we don't know. These are the things we know.

Retinoblastoma = a rare malignant tumor of the retina, affecting young children.

There are two forms of retinoblastoma. A genetic type and a sporadic type. MSKCC tested her blood. It was not the genetic form. If it is not genetic, it is sporadic, and they don't know what causes the sporadic form.