Parents say surgery available in China could help baby's sight - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Parents say treatment available in China could help baby's sight

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

When you meet Sawyer, the blond curls and blue eyes instantly win you over. And so does the intense unconditional love of his parents, Brianna and Patrick McCarthy

"Even at a young age I was nervous and I wasn't fully prepared," said Brianna McCarthy. "But just having a good man by my side, I just knew we were going to take this parent thing on and we were going to be great at it and so we were just really thrilled when we found out"

Nine months later, Sawyer was born. When he was about 3 months old, the young couple could sense something was quite right.

"One day we were just going on a walk, me and Sawyer, and we were in the direct sunlight and he didn't squint which was when I knew he needed to go to the doctor," said his mother.

The pediatrician immediately referred the couple to an eye doctor who confirmed Sawyer was blind.

"He looked in Sawyer's eyes and said that he had optic nerve hypoplsia," said Brianna.

Which, in every simple terms means the optic nerves are too small or underdeveloped  for an image to be transferred  from the brain to the eye.

"I just remember saying, 'I don't know care if I have to go to the end of earth to help him, I will," she said.

So Brianna took to the Internet, posting on Facebook, which led her to a stem cell treatment that's only offered in China.

"What the stem cells will do is they will is basically they know that his optic nerves are underdeveloped and they will basically help his optic nerve grow in a way that they aren't so it will basically repair what is not there,"said Brianna.

The procedure isn't approved here in the U.S. but experts in China say there is about a 72% success rate.

"If it takes two months or two years we are still going to pursue it get the money for it and bring him to China and get this treatment,"  said Patrick McCarthy.

The McCarthys need $30,000 to cover all their expenses. So far they have raised $15,000.

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