A brave young girl had to have her right eye removed after doctors discovered she was suffering from a rare form of cancer that they initially shrugged off as a case of pink eye.
In December 2018, Kinsley Peacock, now seven, from Sarasota, Florida, was taken to the doctor by her software company owner mom, Kim, 39, and dad Adam, 36, after redness appeared in her right eye.
Their doctor diagnosed Kinsley, who was four years old at the time, with pink eye or conjunctivitis and she was sent home with a course of antibiotics.
Brave: Kinsley Peacock, now seven, from Florida, had to have her right eye removed when she was just four years old after being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer
Upset: The youngster (pictured in hospital before her eye was removed) first went to see the doctor in December 2018 – and was initially told that she was suffering from pink eye
Scary: Kinsley’s parents Adam, 36, and Kim, 39, got a second opinion from a specialist, who thought she might have a detached retina or a tumor, but it was later revealed to be cancer
Aggressive: Although Kinsley underwent chemotherapy to treat her retinoblastoma, doctors were concerned that the cancer would spread to her brain, so they decided to remove her eye
But after a week Kinsley’s eye had not got any better and her parents sought a second opinion from an eye specialist who concluded that Kinsley could have a detached retina or maybe even a tumor behind her eye.
Kim and Adam immediately took Kinsley to have an ultrasound and were relieved when the doctor told them he was 99 per cent sure that it was not a tumor, but instead a damaged retina.
However, while visiting another eye specialist to determine the damage to her retina, Kim and Adam’s world came crashing down. Their four-year-old daughter was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, an extremely rare and aggressive eye cancer.
After two rounds of aggressive chemotherapy that made her incredibly sick, doctors assessed the state of Kinsley’s eye. Determining that there was a distinct risk that the little girl’s cancer could spread to her brain, the decision was taken to remove Kinsley’s right eye to save her life.
In January 2019, Kinsley underwent a two-hour surgery in which her right eye was removed. After six weeks of healing at home, Kinsley was fitted with a custom made prosthetic eye, measured and designed specifically to match her left eye.
According to Kim, Kinsley has taken having one eye in her stride and fortunately hasn’t suffered any bullying as a result. Whilst she does have children asking what happened to her eye, Kinsley has the confidence to tell them that her eye makes her unique and special.
Kinsley’s younger brother Reid, now four, was only two years old when Kinsley’s eye was removed, but thinks that it has given his older sister superpowers.
Fortunately, the cancer was all contained to Kinsley’s right eye and she was declared cancer free in the spring of 2019.
Fighter: Kinsley (pictured with her prosthetic eye) underwent a two-hour surgery to remove her eye in January 2019
Celebration: According to Kinsley’s mom Kim, the little girl has taken her cancer diagnosis and eye surgery in her stride, and is proud that the prosthetic eye makes her unique
New hobby: While recovering from her surgery at home, Kinsley developed a love of baking – and she began selling her treats to make money for other sick kids
Warrior: The youngster has thus far raised $195,000 from her bake sales, and she had a special prosthetic eye designed to celebrate – which features a cookie in place of a retina
Kinsley must visit ocular oncologist every four months and has a brain and orbital MRI every year to ensure she remains clear of cancer.
During her recovery, Kinsley developed a love of baking to stave off the boredom of being at home and baked cookies most days. Deciding to share her tasty creations with her neighbors and school friends, Kinsley obtained a reputation for her delicious treats.
Kinsley had the selfless idea of selling her cookies and donating the proceeds to help other children suffering from cancer.
Dad Adam spent countless nights building a cookie cart from which Kinsley could sell her creations and since then Kinsley has dedicated much of her free time to fundraising.
In total Kinsley has managed to raise an astonishing $195,000 selling cookies and hosting fundraising events.
In 2021 alone, Kinsley aims to raise $100,000 for pediatric cancer centers.
Kinsley has even had a customized prosthetic eye created for her which contains a retina that resembles a cookie to commemorate her incredible achievements.
‘In December 2018 our world was flipped upside down when we were told our sweet daughter Kinsley had cancer,’ said Kim.
‘Just three days prior to her diagnosis, the only symptom Kinsley had was redness in her right eye.
‘But after the redness didn’t clear up, we took her to a second doctor who informed us that Kinsley had no vision in her right eye due to a detached retina that could be the result of trauma or a tumor.
Going strong: The youngster is aiming to raise a whopping $100,000 this year alone
Popular: Kinsley began selling her sweet treats to neighbors and friends at school, and soon developed a reputation for her baking skills
Spoils: The brave cancer survivor uses the bake sale money to buy items that bring comfort to other sick kids, including iPads, blankets, and glasses for others with retinoblastoma
‘When we heard the word tumor, we sank to our knees. Less than a year prior we had attended the funeral of a friend whose seven-year-old daughter Avery had died from a brain tumor.
‘Needing more answers, we immediately had an ultrasound done which confirmed the detached retina.
‘As you can imagine, we felt a huge sense of relief when the doctor told us that he was 99 per cent sure that it wasn’t a tumor.
‘Kinsley then had a further evaluation under anesthesia to determine whether the retina could be re-attached.
‘Instead, the surgeon told us that Kinsley had an advanced stage tumor in her right eye that needed to be treated immediately.
‘It was every parent’s worst nightmare. It was a moment of pure fear, darkness and uncertainty not knowing if our sweet girl was going to be taken from us.
‘We were told that if it wasn’t stopped quickly enough her form of cancer, known as retinoblastoma, would spread down Kinsley’s optic nerve and into her brain.
‘Having a complete lack of control over saving Kinsley’s life was incredibly difficult for us.
‘Although we were crumbling inside, knowing that we couldn’t fix Kinsley’s cancer, we decided to focus our energy ensuring that she felt loved and trusted.
Support system: Kinsley’s parents and her younger brother Reid have all helped her to build up her fundraising
‘Our strength came from our strong faith and the incredible support we received from our amazing family, friends and community and Kinsely’s amazing medical team.
‘For Kinsley, cancer took her eye, but she never lost her positive spirit, her kind heart and her willingness to help others.
‘The mission of Kinsley’s cookie cart is to raise awareness for pediatric cancer and provide children who are fighting cancer with items that bring them comfort including iPads, blankets, hospital decorations and protective glasses for others with retinoblastoma.
‘Having been one of the families struggling in the hospital, we know just how much of an impact these small acts of kindness can have.’
With the current options to fight childhood cancer being limited due to the aggressive nature of the treatment, Kim, Adam and Kinsley hope that their fundraising efforts will go towards research into new treatments that are more suitable for children.
‘With only four cancer treatments approved for use on children in the USA, many children are not even given the chance to fight cancer,’ said Kim.
‘We aim to help fund research into new means of treatment that are less toxic for children.
‘As parents who almost lost our child to this terrible disease, we have a tremendous amount of compassion that is driving our mission.
‘Our hope is that Kinsley and her brother Reid will one day kick us out of the driver’s seat and finish any work that needs to be done to cure all childhood cancers.
‘We don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.’