A Bowling Green baby will go to China for ground-breaking stem cell research to correct his vision.
Six-month-old Jackson Blackford bounces and squeals like any other happy, healthy baby, but what you don't realize is that he can't see.
He has an under-developed optic-nerve, a condition known as optic-nerve hypoplasia.
"When he looks at something he doesn't pick up the image and send it to his brain so therefore it leaves him legally blind," explained his mother, Rachael Stayer.
Jack's parents first realized something was wrong when he was three-months-old.
"We noticed that he wouldn't pay attention to his toys and his eyes would kind of dance around," Stayer said.
His mother learned of the website www.stemcellschina.com. She immediately emailed the Chinese hospital that was looking for applicants in a special case study where doctors use stem cells from umbilical cords of healthy live-birth babies.
"We got the ball rolling automatically. They were really anxious because he's so young. It's going to make a big difference than if he were an older child," Stayer said.
Jack was one of five children in the world selected for the revolutionary treatment. He will receive umbilical cord stem cells that will hopefully repair his optic-nerve and restore his eyesight.
"His father and I don't ever want to be in the position where we have to tell him we didn't do everything we possibly could for him," Stayer said.
The hospital has a 98 percent success rate in its research studies. This makes his parents optimistic the time and cost will be well worth it.
The treatments, trip to China and medical supplies are expected to cost $60,000 and none of it is covered by insurance. If you would like to donate to the Jackson T. Blackford Fund, you can do so at any U.S. Bank location.