In September 2017, Bella was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York by Dr. David Abramson. The Mayo Clinic states that “Retinoblastoma is an eye cancer that begins in the retina — the sensitive lining on the inside of your eye.” Untreated, Retinoblastoma can spread into other parts of the eye and face: throughout the retina, the fluid in the eye, the tissue under the retina, the eye socket, optic nerve, and the brain. After confirming the diagnosis, an MRI revealed that the tumor did not reach the optic nerve.
Dr. Abramson recommended either to enucleate (remove) Bella’s left eye or receive Intra-Arterial Chemotherapy (IAC). IAC is a revolutionary treatment option that delivers concentrated doses of cancer-killing medicine directly to the affected area of the eye. It also removes the debilitating toxicities associated with systemic chemotherapy. After considering both options, Bella’s parents decided to move forward with IAC. The IAC was administered by Dr. Y. Pierre Gobin at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center. Bella received the chemotherapy for three months.
Bella’s siblings, Brianna and CJ, and parents were right beside her, fighting with her the entire time.