Organized by Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, the second annual event
raised more than $100,000 for pediatric eye cancer research, hospital
The invitation-only tournament pulled in celebrities, including rocker
Eddie Van Halen, actress Hunter Tylo and actor Richard Roundtree along
with L.A. Kings players and business leaders in the city.
But the undisputed darling of the event was Amy, who lost an eye to
retinoblastoma when she was just 2 and now helps other children with eye
cancer and their families deal with the disease.
Amy, a Glendale resident, was diagnosed with pediatric eye cancer when
she was 9 months old. Now, about four times a year, Amy and her mother,
Kathy, are called in to the hospital when families find themselves in the
same situation the Drummonds were in eight years ago.
"We try to help those parents calm their fears," Kathy said.
And if Amy's cuteness and cheery disposition are not enough to do so,
she said she likes to play her "Which eye is fake?" guessing game. Only
one scrutinizer has been able to distinguish her prosthetic eye from her
real one, Amy said.
"I just like to tell them it's OK," Amy said. "It's fun and I know
that it helps people, and if they need me, I'll do it."
Amy's physician, Dr. Linn Murphree, has been making his own moves in
the fight against eye cancer, which accounts for about 13% of all cancers
As director of the hospital's retinoblastoma center, Murphree and the
hospital-based organization, Retinoblastoma International, pushed for a
state Assembly bill that passed May 30. Coincidentally, the bill was
debated by the state Senate on Monday as the tournament was taking place.
The Newborn Eye Screening Program Bill calls for mandatory pupillary
exams for newborn babies before they go home from the hospital and at
An estimated 8,000 cases of retinoblastoma occur each year around the
world, and 7,000 of those cases are fatal due to delayed detection.
However, the survival rate is 97% if the disease is diagnosed in its
early stages, hospital officials said.
"The argument against this is that it's a rare disease, why bother?
But my argument is that you may have a blind child," said Murphree.
"I've been called a 'rogue ophthalmologist' but I wear that hat
proudly if it's going to save children," he said.