A 17-year-old student from South Florida, who is captain of her high school volleyball team, recently faced her biggest battle outside of the courts, fighting eye cancer. Emily Pickett was left with just her right eye after suffering from retinoblastoma — childhood retinal cancer — since age five.

The rare type of eye cancer typically develops in the retina — the specialized light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that detects light and color. Retinoblastoma affects only one eye, although one out of three children with the cancer will develop it in both eyes, according to Genetics Home Reference. Symptoms of childhood retinal cancer include crossed eyes or eyes that do not point in the same direction (strabismus), persistent eye pain, redness, irritation, blindness, or poor vision in the affected eye(s).

The disease can be life-threatening if it is not treated promptly, and it can spread beyond, to other parts of the body. In the U.S., approximately 250 to 350 children are affected per year, accounting for about four percent of all cancers in children younger than 15 years old.

Pickett's cancer story has recently stirred up controversy over the Internet as the young Florida teen was impersonated by someone who claimed to be "Emily Monroe." Monroe assumed the identity of the "one-eyed teen with cancer" and created false social media accounts such as "One-Eyed Wonder" on Tumblr.

The impersonator even posted a photo of Pickett in a gown and tiara, with the caption: “Emma. 17. I’ve kicked cancer’s ass twice and I’m going for a third.” A photo was also posted of the real Pickett in her volleyball clothes wearing an eye patch with part of the caption that reads: "I’m so proud of myself. I have no depth perception and I’ve taught myself to play volleyball." I take so much pride in my team and all the hard work I put into it. No one truly understands how cancer [works] unless you yourself has it.”

Emily Monroe
Emily Pickett, one-eyed teen with retinoblastoma, gets her identity stolen by a blogger. Tumblr/oneyewonder

Pickett publicly announced on Twitter she is indeed a survivor of retinoblastoma but the cancer has not come back and she still has one eye.

The impersonator is believed to live in Coral Springs, Fla. — Pickett found the IP address and phone number of the individual, according to her Twitter account. The teen describes her experience as a mix of Pretty Little Liars and Catfish — both television shows about betrayal and deceit, particularly the latter which deals with truths and lies of the online world.

Pickett has had the helped of several Twitter followers like Michelle Osorio from San Diego, Calif. who has actively made sure the false accounts and news reports have been taken down.

Despite her struggles with cancer and her recent legal battle, Pickett still remains gleeful. The teen recently went to Disney World with her boyfriend on November 22 showing that she puts on a brave face and smile in the face of adversity.

According to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, more than 95 percent of patients can be cured if the retinoblastoma tumor is contained within one eye. For children with tumors in both eyes, the cure rate decreases to 70 or 80 percent — with many needing radiation therapy. Currently, at St. Jude, clinical trials are testing new chemotherapy drugs that better penetrate into the eye in order to avoid having children undergo radiation therapy or having to surgically remove their eyes.

To visit Emily Pickett's Twitter, click here.

Correction, November 26, 2013: A previously published version of this article included invalid information based on "Emily Monroe's" interview with The Friendly Atheist Blog. That blog has since taken the interview down.