A young father was dealt a huge blow after he was diagnosed with an incurable cancer just before his wife gave birth to their first daughter.
Chris Stoker, a warehouse manager in Brisbane, was diagnosed in May 2022 with a rare and deadly form of eye cancer, ocular melanoma.
The cancer is extremely rare: only five to six people out of a million are diagnosed with the disease.
Chris Stoker (pictured left), a warehouse manager in Brisbane, was diagnosed in May 2022 with a rare and deadly form of eye cancer, ocular melanoma, which occurs only five to six times in a million people. He pictured himself with his wife Katey MacPherson
In April, Mrs. MacPherson gave birth to Ivy Elizabeth Rose. In the picture, Mr. Stoker,
Within days of diagnosis, Mr Stoker’s eye had to be removed and replaced with a prosthetic.
Mr Stoker was dealt another blow when a routine scan in March found the cancer had spread to his liver.
Warning signs of ocular melanoma
Warning signs may include:
- poor or blurred vision in one eye
- loss of peripheral vision
- brown or dark spots on the whites of the eyes
- a dark spot on the iris
- small spots, wavy lines or ‘floaters’ in your vision
- flash in your sight
- a change in the shape of the pupil
“We’ve been told there is no ‘cure’ for this type of cancer and very limited treatment options are available,” said his wife Katey MacPherson.
“The treatment options available will prolong his life, but will not cure him of this terrible cancer.”
Mr Stoker, who is only 36, was told there is ‘no cure’ for this type of cancer and was given ‘months to live’ instead of years.
In April, Ms MacPherson, who is 32, gave birth to Ivy Elizabeth Rose.
She admitted that she was “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 enjoy our time as a family and create many great memories with our little girl.”
Mrs. Stoker’s aunt, Gillian Tobler, started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a combination drug treatment that doctors are optimistic could extend his life, if not beat the cancer.
Three rounds of self-funded use of Darovasertib and Crizotinib are expected to cost Mr. Stoker and Ms. MacPherson $25,000.
By Sunday afternoon, the fundraiser was halfway through with $13,588 raised by community members.
The fundraising page also mentioned a sad fact that many people can relate to: Mr Stoker ignored his main symptom instead of seeking expert advice.
Mr Stoker suddenly experienced blurred vision, a well-known symptom that can prompt doctors to make a diagnosis.
Within days of the diagnosis of uveal melanoma, Mr Stoker’s eye had to be removed and replaced with a prosthesis
By the time he finally sought professional advice, the disease had progressed to the point where a casual examination at an optometrist turned into a final blow to the emergency department.
“As a typical man, he tried to brush it off with his ‘she’ll be right’ attitude and got up and went to work,” Ms Tobler said.
After ‘much nagging’ from his wife, Mr Stoker went to see an optometrist but was immediately sent to the emergency room with a suspected retinol detachment.
“The next morning when the specialists were getting Chris ready for surgery, they found 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 moving it to his liver, the couple was told that radiation could not be used to destroy the tumor because it had grown too large.
Instead, he will undergo a mix of chemotherapy and immunotherapy.