Iowa Boy Has Prosthetic Tigerhawk Eye Made in the Corridor
The smile says it all. That smiling face is 10-year-old Colton Barker of Sioux City. When he was just two years old, Colton was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, cancer of the retina in his right eye. The fast-moving cancer would likely kill Colton in only a couple of weeks if the eye wasn't removed. Two days after the diagnosis, he underwent surgery to remove it.
Since undergoing that surgery eight years ago, Colton has had a total of 10 prosthetic eyes, but none of them caused him to smile like the one he received last weekend.
The prosthetic eye with the Tigerhawk logo was made by an angel. Her name is Vaune Bulgarelli. She owns Iowa Eye Prosthetics in Coralville. She's made every one of Colton's prosthetic eyes and why did she custom-make this one? This is what she told the Des Moines Register:
I just wanted him to be able to, as the kids say today, 'own it' and be able to gain a little confidence. I knew he would think it was cool and I wanted him to feel good about (his prosthetic eye)."
That's a special lady. Now a lifelong friend of the family, Bulgarelli used Colton's latest mold to make his special eye, totally unbeknownst to him.
Colton won't be wearing his special Tigerhawk to school. No, he'll stick with his traditional prosthetic for that. As his dad, Justin Barker says, "He's already calling it his Game Day eye."
Whether the Hawkeyes win or lose, that's a great-looking eye, Colton. Almost as good as that smile. Almost.