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An Australian mum has been left unable to hold her child after a supposed eye infection was discovered to be something far more insidious.
Eight-month-old Baby Wally was taken to his GP with a red eye for which he was prescribed antibiotics as it was believed to be a simple infection.
However, the full extent of his condition was not clear until later, and on July 26 parents Carol Montgomery-Dwyer, 26, and Daniel Reece, 30, were told their son had rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer.
Wally has since lost the vision in his affected eye which has started to bulge out of his head.
He is now due to start 42 weeks of chemotherapy in an attempt to prolong his life.
But despite how painful the treatment is for Wally, his mum has only been able to touch him for minutes at a time.
Ms. Montgomery-Dwyer is currently pregnant, and so cannot hold Wally for more than a few minutes due to the radiation risk to her pregnancy.
“I can’t hold him for more than 10 minutes at a time because he’s completely radioactive,” she said.
“I can’t change nappies. I pretty much have to watch dad do everything … It’s really hard.”
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Mr. Reece has stopped working at his job as a full time chef to care for for Wally full time.
Wally’s mum has also said that the diagnosis left her “in shock”.
“I honestly didn’t hear anything after they told me it was cancer,” she told news.com.au.
“I’m going through moments of breaking down and then just feeling completely numb, like it’s not real, because he’s still such a happy, energetic little boy right now.
“It doesn’t feel real.
“We’re not coping well at all.”
Wally will likely need a secondary treatment to give him the best chance of survival. His options for this are either radiotherapy or proton therapy.
But while his parents would prefer radiotherapy, this option is not currently available in Australia, meaning they would have to travel to the UK for Wally to receive the treatment.
Despite concerns about Ms. Montgomery-Dwyer being unable to fly due to her pregnancy, discussions are now underway with doctors which could see her give birth in a UK hospital.
“At least I could go be there with my partner and Wally… I couldn't imagine doing all of that by yourself.
“It's still uncertain and scary and we don’t know the costs of having a baby in the UK yet.”
Ms Montgomery-Dwyer described her eldest child as “very happy”, “strong” and a “brave little boy”.
“For a little baby, he has a big personality… Nothing is holding him back,” she said.
“He’s his old self — just running around, squealing and just being a Wally.”
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help pay for treatment and bills.
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