If you ask Colin what his future holds, he’ll describe the three-way tie between being a paleontologist, working in medicine or winning a gold medal as the next Michael Phelps. With big dreams and passion for life, Colin doesn’t let cancer or vision loss get in his way.
At 5-months-old, Colin developed a lazy eye. His mother, Maureen, brought him along with his two brothers to see the doctor who decided to examine Colin’s eye. He was officially diagnosed with a disease that would change his life.
The Beach family was informed that Colin had bilateral hereditary retinoblastoma, a rare condition in which malignant tumors developed in the retina of his eyes. It most often develops in children under the age of 5 and puts the child at high risk for developing other cancers. Colin’s bilateral hereditary retinoblastoma has included 11 eye tumors and lifelong blindness in one of his eyes. But what he’s lost in sight, Colin has gained in strength of will and the size of his heart.
This is why Colin has been chosen as an ambassador for The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton. Colin has undergone multiple surgeries and procedures such as chemotherapy, laser treatments and numerous MRI’s. Despite the severity of his disease and the number of surgeries he has needed – his parents stopped counting after 30 – Colin, now 11 years old, has learned to accept it as part of his life.
“The way we approached it is it’s just who he is. He has a sign on his wall saying ‘no regrets, why me or surrender,’” says Maureen. “He doesn’t always want to go to the hospital all the time, but he just grins and bears it. He's a real trouper."
Colin is now in long-term care at Dayton Children’s cancer care clinic. His doctor, Mukund Dole, MD at Dayton Children’s works closely with retinoblastoma experts at Cincinnati Children’s to treat Colin’s condition. After spending months, days and hours at Dayton Children’s, Colin has developed bonds with many nurses, Dr. Dole, and even some of the volunteers at the front desk whenever the Beach family comes in. He has also helped further research in cancer, by letting doctors and residents study his disease from birth to the present, in hopes this will help other children survive.
Colin has excelled in his learning at Watts Middle School in Centerville, where he is currently a sixth-grader. Additionally, he was Normandy Elementary’s student council president during fifth-grade; a position which he feels has given him experience to excel as an ambassador.
Although Colin is still in the life-long fight against cancer and has lost complete sight in one eye, he is more concerned with how to help other children battling illness and disease. He hopes to start giving back as a Dayton Children’s Child Ambassador.
“We’ve always talked about how he would give back,” Maureen says. “He was surprised to be chosen as an ambassador at such a young age but was honored. When kids on his swim club team found out they all immediately asked how they could help him. He’s passionate about working to make life more comfortable for children all over the world.”
The Comprehensive Care Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Dayton Children’s provides state-of-the-art services in oncology and hematology. For more information on our services, and to learn more about our pediatric cancer treatment visit our Children's Care Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
We believe there are 18 ways we're just right for our region's kids! Learn more and share your story at justrightforkids.org.