A young father was dealt a massive blow after he was diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer just before his wife gave birth to their first daughter.
Chris Stoker, a Brisbane warehouse manager, was diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of eye cancer, ocular melanoma, in May 2022.
The cancer is extremely rare with only five to six in one million people diagnosed with the illness.
Chris Stoker (pictured left), a Brisbane warehouse manager, was diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of eye cancer, ocular melanoma, which occurs only five to six times in a million people, in May 2022. He pictured with his wife Katey MacPherson
In April, Ms MacPherson gave birth to Ivy Elizabeth Rose. Pictured, Mr Stoker,
Within days of the diagnosis, Mr Stoker’s eye needed to be removed and replaced with a prosthetic.
Mr Stoker was dealt another blow when a routine scan in March detected the cancer had spread to his liver.
Warning signs of ocular melanoma
Warnings signs may include:
- poor or blurred vision in one eye
- loss of peripheral vision
- brown or dark patches on the white of the eye
- a dark spot on the iris
- small specks, wavy lines or ‘floaters’ in your vision
- flashes in your vision
- a change in the shape of the pupil
‘We were told that there is no ‘cure’ for this type of cancer and there is very limited treatment options available,’ his wife Katey MacPherson said.
‘The treatment options that are available will prolong his life but not cure him of this awful cancer.’
Mr Stoker, who is just 36, was told there is ‘no cure’ for this type of cancer and was given ‘months to live’, rather than years.
In April Ms MacPherson, who is 32, gave birth to Ivy Elizabeth Rose.
She admitted feeling ‘terrified of what the future holds for our little family’ in a Facebook post.
‘Chris will fight this disease with everything he has to be around as long as possible to watch our beautiful little girl grow up,’ Ms MacPherson wrote.
‘We are enjoying our time as a family and creating lots of beautiful memories with our little girl.’
Ms Stoker’s aunt, Gillian Tobler, started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a combination drug treatment that doctors are optimistic could prolong his life, if not beat the cancer.
Three rounds of self-funded use of Darovasertib and Crizotinib is expected to cost Mr Stoker and Ms MacPherson $25,000.
By Sunday afternoon the fundraiser had past the halfway mark with $13,588 raised by members of the community.
The fundraiser page also recounted a sad fact that many people could relate to: Mr Stoker ignored his main symptom instead of getting expert advice.
Mr Stoker experienced a sudden onset of blurry vision, a known symptom that can prompt doctors to seek a diagnosis.
Within days of the ocular melanoma diagnosis, Mr Stoker’s eye needed to be removed and replaced with a prosthetic
By the time he finally sought professional advice the disease was so advanced that a casual enquiry at an optometrist turned into a mercy dash to the emergency department.
‘Being a typical male he tried to brush it off with his ‘she’ll be right’ attitude and got up and went to work,’ said Ms Tobler.
After ‘plenty of nagging’ from his wife, Mr Stoker stopped by an optometrist but was sent straight to emergency with a suspected retinol detachment.
‘The following morning when prepping Chris for surgery the specialists found out it was worse than they expected,’ Ms Tobler said.
‘They found a large mass behind his eye and four excruciating days later, Chris was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma.’
After it had moved to his liver, the couple were told radiation could not be used to blast the tumour because it had grown too large.
Instead he will undergo and mix of chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
This post first appeared on Daily mail