Izabella Sharkey

3 Years Old at Diagnosis

Izabella SharkeyWhen Izabella (Izzy) was just 3 years old her mother and father, Brandy and David, took her in for her annual well visit. Her pediatrician performed an eye test for the first time and noticed that something wasn't right. She told Brandy and David to take Izabella to an ophthalmologist to have her checked out.

When they got home, she repeated the test the pediatrician had performed and realized that Izzy couldn't see out of her right eye. She immediately called their ophthalmologist and took Izzy in for an appointment. Their doctor saw something they never expected, a tumor. Brandy and David took Izzy to the hospital right away, where she was officially diagnosed with retinoblastoma.

Seven days after her checkup, Izzy underwent surgery to remove her eye.

Their family never imaged that their daughter was blind in one eye and suffering from cancer. She never showed any signs. Throughout the process, Izzy has always kept smiling. She understands her cancer and is happy to show people her eye and explain how it works.

Izabella SharkeyIzzy is now a happy and healthy 3-year-old who loves the ninja turtles, the Wizard of Oz, playing dress up, and pretending to be a princess. Every day, Brandy counts herself lucky that they are able to celebrate Izzy's life.

After Izzy's surgery, Brandy joined a mom's group on social media and found other parents who had been through cancer. They told her about the CureSearch Walk, and encouraged her to get involved. This year, she is on the committee for the Philadelphia CureSearch Walk and can't wait to help spread the word about how important it is to fund children's cancer research.


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