LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The ability to see is a beautiful thing, but imagine losing your eyesight because of a rare eye cancer.
Not only was that the reality for Quatisha East, but also for her three-year-old daughter, Dallas Carter, who battled the same condition.
Fortunately, the outcomes have been much different.
Dallas is as happy and carefree as any other three-year-old girl.
"She loves saying hey and loves talking," East explained.
When she took Dallas for a routine check-up, doctors noticed that there was something wrong.
"They decided to look in her eyes and said, oh no, we see something glowing. We see a spot or something," East said.
It was a scare that was all too familiar to East.
When she was around Dallas' same age, her mom noticed a hole in her eye.
"You can see like my brain, you can see like the veins and stuff like up to my brain," East described,
She also explained that she's blind because of a rare cancer known as Retinoblastoma, a condition that causes cancer cells to form in the back of the eye.
Doctors diagnosed Dallas with the same type of cancer in 2019.
"We decided to let her do chemo to see if that would work," East said.
Both of Quatisha's eyes were removed when she was younger, and she hoped Dallas would avoid that challenge.
Dr. Florin Grigorian, a Pediatric Ophthalmologist at UAMS, said about 300 Americans a year are diagnosed with Retinoblastoma— and it's commonly diagnosed in children.
"Dallas doesn't have perfect vision, but pretty good vision," Dr. Grigorian said.
Since doctors were able to detect the cancer so early, Dallas was not only able to keep her vision, but her eyes too.
Though, the treatment has been extensive.
"It's a multimodal way of treating in order to achieve that high level of success," Dr. Grigorian said.
She underwent more than 20 rounds of chemotherapy, monthly laser eye procedures, and cryotherapy.
Fortunately, Dallas received her final chemo treatment in 2021.
"I'm happy to see Dallas be a normal child," Dr. Grigorian said.
That's all her mom and grandmother could've asked for.
Quatisha said that Dallas is talking more and has been learning a lot of skills.
Those are things she never doubted her daughter would be able to do.
"I always had the positive mindset that God is going to get me through this and I know she's going to be able to see and everything is going to get better for her," East explained.
Doctors were able to report that Dallas' cancer is in remission— and like her mother, she'll need to have follow-ups every five years for the rest of her life to make sure the cancer doesn't come back.