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Fundraiser Held To Benefit Toddler Dealing With Rare Eye Cancer

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS (WCCO) -- Retinoblastoma is a rare childhood cancer that is thought to affect only 300 kids a year in the entire country. It's a tumor that is found in the retina of the eye - and it's what a little girl from Inver Grove Heights is dealing with right now.

A picture of Adalyn Nace (pictured in video) provides a clue. If you look closely you'll see the flash on the camera left her with a red eye and a white eye. That white spot is the location of a cancerous growth.

Adalyn's parents are now dealing with something they never expected - but their friends and family stepped in to help Sunday.

In addition to the prayers for Adalyn, there was also financial support in the social hall of Emanuel Lutheran Church. The fundraiser included a pancake breakfast, a silent auction and T-shirt sale.

Adalyn gets chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor in her right eye. The chemo compromises her immune system, so she can't go to day care, which means one of Adalyn's parents has to take a leave from work.

At the same time, medical bills are mounting.

"Being her eyes, you know, they only cover so many eye exams a year and she has to have them numerous times, so those are the kind of things that are coming out of our pocket," said Theresa Nace, Adalyn's mother.

Adalyn gets laser treatments as well as chemotherapy. She also has glasses to correct her far-sighted vision.

"After she got her glasses, she is like a new child. She is looking at things, she's trying to take a few steps," said Adalyn's grandmother, Cindy.

There is a chance Adalyn may lose her right eye to this genetic disease, but right now her prognosis is good. Theresa says her treatment usually has a 97 percent success rate.

On Monday, Adalyn celebrated her first birthday. To see her Caring Bridge Web site, click here.

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