Kadyn Buck bounces back

Ron Burtz
Kadyn Buck of Kimball is a vibrant and energetic little boy. His mother says he plays peek-a-boo like any other toddler. That’s in spite of the fact that he has only one eye. 
Shortly before Christmas of 2018 Kadyn’s mother, Manda, the daughter of Deb and the late Bill Bell of Custer, noticed when looking at a photograph that the boy’s right eye had a dull yellow glow instead of the usual “red eye” that results from the camera’s flash hitting the retina at the back of the eye. 
After a rapid series of doctor visits which culminated in a trip to the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, it was determined that Kadyn had an extremely rare condition known as Coats Disease and that his eye was so damaged it would have to be removed. The operation to do that took place three days after Christmas of 2018. The Custer County Chronicle of March 19, 2019, reported on Kadyn’s situation in an article which included comments from his grandpa Bill. 
Fast forward one year. At 20 months, Kadyn is healthy, energetic and adjusting well to his new normal, according to  Manda. 
“He doesn’t know any different,” she said. “He’s had only one eye since he was 7 months old. He has no idea that he has only one eye.”
Without stereoscopic vision, Buck says Kadyn’s depth perception is off, but she says he will adapt with time. 
Since that first surgery, Kadyn went back to Minneapolis in March for a checkup and to receive his first prosthetic eye. He has also changed specialists. 
He is now being seen at Colorado Children’s Hospital in Aurora. The family traveled there in September for an investigation of suspicious lumps in the affected eye socket. Buck said the lumps were surgically removed and biopsied, but turned out to be nothing serious. 
Also in the last year, Kadyn has gone from being the only reported Coats case in South Dakota and one in 200,000 to one in a million because of the unique particulars of his pathology. 
Buck said after studying Kadyn’s medical file, his new doctor in Colorado referred to him as “this incredibly interesting case.” 
Buck also said Kadyn’s case has the potential to help other Coats patients as well, as the diseased eye was sent off to be used in research, and that because of his unique case and others like him, UNICEF is “now on board with doing eye screenings for newborn babies.” 
Kadyn’s diagnosis and surgery at the end of 2018 was the beginning of a difficult year for the Bell/Buck family. Bill’s death from cancer on March 18 at the age of 64 was the second blow, but Buck said the family has persevered. 
“We did what we do best and we put our next foot forward and pushed on,” said Buck. 
The outlook for Kadyn looks bright. Buck says he will have to make semi-annual trips to Aurora for exams on his good eye to make sure the Coats has not progressed to that eye. 
The good news is that Coats usually affects only one eye, but if it does affect the other one, if caught early enough, it can be treated to slow the disease’s progression. However, there is no cure at this time. 
Then, as Kadyn grows, the implant in the eye socket and the prosthetic eye will need to be replaced every five to 10 years, depending on his rate of growth. 
The downside for the Buck family is the expense of Kadyn’s ongoing treatment, as he is not covered by insurance and so far has received no formal financial assistance. 
“Each trip is extremely expensive,” said Buck, calling the situation “very, very difficult.” 
A fund set up last year at Black Hills Federal Credit Union is still active and those wishing to donate may make contributions to the “Kaydn Buck/Manda Bell/Buck” fund. 
Buck remains hopeful that Kadyn’s case may be used to help others suffering from the same disease and again urged parents to “know the glow.” She urges parents of young children to take flash pictures of their kids from a safe distance and then examine the photos to make sure the light in the eyes is pink or red. If it is white or a dull yellow/amber, the child should be seen by a doctor immediately. 
Kadyn’s case is unique because it progressed dramatically in only five days, however, Buck said the progression is usually much slower, giving doctors time to administer effective treatments. 
Because of Kadyn’s situation, Buck says other children may have already been helped to see better. After Bill’s death in March, the family donated his eyes to a Lions Club Eye Bank so his corneas could be transplanted to someone else. 
“He would have loved that,” said Buck, “to help children see on behalf of his grandson.”

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