New Orleans Saints linebacker Dermario Davis and his wife, Tamela, recently opened up about how their faith was tested after their daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in her left eye.
Their daughter, Carly-Faith Davis, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer in the back of the eye that typically affects children. In May 2020, her parents first noticed a glint in her left eye but didn't think much of it. The couple later changed their minds and sought medical attention for their daughter.
"When I really heard the doctors tell us that it was cancer and what our journey was going to look like, from that moment on, there was just this weakening, and it went from the top of head to the bottom of my feet and almost as if I was going to pass out," Tamela told CBN News in a video interview.
"We got the same shocking news that many people get, and we had the same emotions that many people have – anger, confusion, sadness," Demario added.
Following her diagnosis, Carly-Faith's had to have her left eye surgically removed to stop the spread of the cancer. At the time, the Davises prayed that the operation would go well and that the Lord would save their daughter's eye.
"I'm a person who typically don't handle things very well, especially when it comes to our children," Tamela shared. "I was trusting and relying on God one hundred percent, and He just really comforted me and gave me peace to really be able to embrace what was happening."
As for Demario, he recalled God reminding him of a particular Bible passage that stresses the necessity of having faith, CBN News reports.
"It's a lot like the man who built his house on the rock versus building his house on the sand. When the storms come, the man that built his house on the rock, the house stood," the linebacker explained. "But the one that built his house on sand, it collapsed. And that storm is reflective of the trials that will come in life.
"It's not IF trials are going to come, it's WHEN trials are going to come, and so it's important to build a foundation and build it on rock," he added. "And I believe you build that in the Word and through a relationship with God."
The surgery was a success, and today, Carly-Faith, who is now two years old, is cancer-free. Despite having a prosthetic eye, the Davis's shared that their baby girl is doing well without complications.
"She's doing amazing now," Demario said. "She's definitely a celebrity in our household. She was cleared, announced fully cancer-free after that [surgery] – hasn't had any complications since with that, and so she's doing amazing."
Today, the Davises, who are now the parents of five, are helping other families going through the same medical issue by raising awareness and paying for medical expenses by fundraising for the hospital where Carly-faith was treated.
"There's [a] need for more funding and more research," Demario explained. "We wanted to support that but also be able to support the families that have children that have been impacted by it that may need to be able to travel, stay in a hotel, and be able to be around their kid without the strain of finances. And so that is why we partnered with Vanderbilt in doing."
The money raised in the fundraiser will be used to raise awareness for retinoblastoma and expand the National Cancer Institute's study on retinoblastoma outcomes. The funding will also help with the testing for new agents for local treatment of the diseases and psychological care for patients and families.
So far, the campaign has raised over $22,000 out of its $30,000 goal.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Mongkolchon Akesin
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.