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Desperate Parents Plead for Baby's Life

On January 1st 2011, Tom and Tara Poey were celebrating the New Year with the birth of their son Maddox.

Tom says, “It was surreal. We were just super excited.”

Tara says, “This was our first child together, so it was a really beautiful bonding moment for our family.”

But when Maddox was 7 months old, Tom and Tara started noticing something wasn’t right with their son.

Tara says, “I remember a moment when I was holding him and looking down at him and looking in his eyes and I just didn't feel that bond that I knew I should feel when I looked at my child.”

Tom remembers, “If I called his name, he would look, but he wouldn't be looking at me, he'd be looking kind of in the area.”

After a thorough examination their pediatrician referred them to an eye specialist.

Tara says, “He looked in his eyes and then he kinda just sat back and took a deep breath and then he said, ‘I’m so sorry to have to tell you this, but Maddox has tumors in his eyes and that's why he can't see.’ And then I looked back at the doctor and I said, ‘is he going to be okay?’ and he told me, ‘I can't tell you that for sure.’”
Tom says, “That was probably the worst day of my life. I was so angry and like almost yelling like ‘why? Why is this happening?’”

The specialist then sent them to the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia, where they met doctor Carol Shields.

Doctor Shields says, “When we examined this young boy we saw both eyes had advanced retinoblastoma. His eyes, both eyes, were filled with cancer.”

The good news was the cancer hadn’t spread, and doctor Shields told the couple that 6 months of systemic chemotherapy should eliminate it completely. But there was a chance their son could lose one, or both of his eyes.

Tara remembers, “When I thought about Maddox being blind for the rest of his life that terrified me because that's not the future I wanted him to have. And so I prayed from the very beginning ‘thank you, God, that Maddox can see everything perfectly out of both of his beautiful eyes.’ And that's just what I would say over and over again, and I really truly believed it.”

By the end of chemo the tumors were gone. But there were still signs that the cancer could return. Then, 8 months later another tumor appeared in Maddox’s right eye. It was treated successfully with radiation but the side effects were severe.

Doctor Shields says, “We cured the cancer, but then he's left with all this swelling in his eye. And in his case, his retina was all blistered up and when it gets blistered up we call that retinal detachment. There would be probably an 80 to 90 percent chance he would lose his eye.”

Tara says, “I wasn't prepared and I just – I felt sick, I felt scared. And I just remember looking at her and saying, ‘he's not going to need his eye removed.’ I said, ‘I’m going to go home and I’m going to pray to God for a miracle and he's not going to need his eye removed.’”

Doctor Shields remembers, “I was really sort of amazed by her belief and, you know, I would chuckle and I’d say, ‘Well, you know, getting back to medicine, medically, scientifically he is at risk to lose this eye.’ And she would (shakes head) shake her head and say ‘I-I really don't think that's going to happen.’”

One day, Tom and Tara were at home watching the 700 Club when Gordon Robertson started praying.

Gordon says, “There is somebody with blistering on your eyeball and it’s a particular problem in your right eye. And God is healing that blistering now. And all that pain and discomfort and inability is turned into ability and comfort and you’re pain free now in Jesus name just receive that.”

Tom remembers, “I felt joy because God's given us signs that he's here and he's going to, you know, heal him and take care of him."  

One month later, Tom and Tara watched, and waited, as Doctor Shields and her team took a careful look at Maddox’s eye.    

Doctor Shields says, “I examined him with my scopes and I was looking and I looked at my assistant and I said, ‘his detachment's gone. No fluid, no detachment.  It was – it was a little bit shocking that it spontaneously went away, and went away so fast.’”

Tara remembers, “Everybody in the room was just like smiling and like it was amazing.”

Tom remembers, “I started laughing a little bit because I was just like, ‘Whoa, it really this really happened.’"

Since then, Maddox hasn’t had any problems with his eyes and enjoys wrestling and playing video games with his two brothers.

Doctor Shields, “This was an amazing situation that happened. Some things in science are not explainable by scientific reasoning. And you know sometimes we just look at each other and scratch our heads and say you know someday we will realize scientifically what exactly happened.”

Tara says, “It’s just, um I mean a miracle obviously, I just I know I feel now that I know Jesus and God on such a personal level.”

Tom says, “I mean, honestly I-I have no doubts that uh God can do anything.”    

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