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Blind Faith

$8,354 of $1 goal

Raised by 123 people in 13 months




Liberty and Triton Gratz are 21 year old twins who were born Deaf, but it took two years for doctors to diagnose. Although their mom fought to have testing done, that diagnosis was hard and heart breaking at first, but over time deafness became a a hurdle that they accepted, cleared, became comfortable with, and even PROUD of. They adopted the attitude of #deafproud #deafcan


When they were babies, their mom noticed their bodies were loose and floppy. They didn’t sit up until they were a year old, and they didn’t walk until they were almost two. As they got older, their mom noticed they were having vision problems, but every optometrist said they were fine. All of these issues above were blown off by doctors saying, “They’re twins, they do things slower.” Even mom’s fear of them being deaf was brushed to the side by doctors saying, “They’re twins. They have their own language. They don’t need to talk to you."


Except, all these issues where a sign of a condition that affects about 400,000 people across the world, and is the most common genetic cause of combined deafness and blindness. This condition is called Usher Syndrome

On January 22, 2018, Liberty was found to have this syndrome and was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa—the disease responsible for the blindness portion. Retinitis Pigmentosa  (RP) is a genetic disease that causes slow, but permanent loss of vision. The retina is a tissue that lines the inside of the eye and sends images to the brain. RP causes a gradual destruction of the light sensing cells, far and peripheral vision cells, straight ahead and fine details, and cells responsible for seeing color. There is currently no cure for Retinitis Pigmentosa. Liberty is already experiencing night blindness and other symptoms of this disease, and will be going to the National Institute of Health later this month for further testing. Because Triton’s medical history is identical to Liberty’s, he will also be tested for RP next week. 


As you can imagine, this diagnoses has sucked the air right out of this family. They are scared, angry, sad, and confused. They are glad to finally have a diagnoses, but now they are trying to figure out those next steps, and the things they will need to learn to make sure Liberty (and Triton if diagnosed) has the best life possible despite the circumstances. 


The Gratz family is a family of great faith, and that is what is getting them through these times. John 16:33 is what keeps them going, "I have told you these things that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have over come the world."

More than anything, this family is asking for your prayers; but with their permission and gratitude, we have started this page to bless them. There will be trips made for further testing that will cost money, and Liberty has also expressed the desire to go to Disney and do some traveling before she goes blind. We would like to help make those trips and dreams happen without it being a financial burden

We have no $ amount as a goal, and we have no expectations other than letting them know they are loved, and to express that love directly to them with whatever comes in. All the funds raised will go directly to the Gratz family for whatever they need. 

As we all have seen, these pages work when we share. A lot of people giving just a little can go a LONG way. 

Join with me, and let's let this family know they are not alone. 
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Message from the Gratz Family:
Is God still in the miracle working business? We say, YES!!! Without a doubt, God is still working miracles! Triton had his follow up appointment today and had some great results! I don’t remember his exact numbers, but his vision improved by 2 lines in his right eye and he has retained quite a bit of his peripheral vision in his right eye. It was WAY better than Liberty’s was at her last appointment. AND he gets to drive during the day! Triton is super excited and happy about that! His left eye isn’t responding to the drops yet, but we will be contacting Maryland NIH about that! We are thanking God for His goodness and love! Please continue to pray for improvement in BOTH of their vision! We appreciate you partnering with us in prayer. Can’t wait to report more miracles! God is SO good! ❤️
Triton and Liberty waiting at Triton’s appointment.
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Message from the Gratz family:
Liberty had a follow up visit today at Virginia Eye Institute. She had a field of vision test done as well as another test that takes pictures of all the layers of the eye. Liberty was extremely nervous about this appointment because she was scared her vision had gotten worse. I can understand that fear when having a new diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa when you are already Deaf. All we have to say about that is, “Fear is a LIAR!!!” The drops are WORKING!!! Her swelling has gone down some in the right macula. She’s only been having drops in the right eye. This is super awesome, but even MORE awesome is that seemed to have improved vision in BOTH eyes! Both myself and her interpreter noticed! I don’t know if the numbers changed at all on that, but I do have a call into the doctors office to find out what her vision was on the first appointment and what her vision is now. Keep praying friends! We are still expecting that miracle!
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Update from the Gratz family:
Dear Friends, Family, & Supporters,

First, thank you so much for all of your love, prayers, and support. We are seeing God work in many ways! So many people are surprised that their diagnoses was just 4 weeks and 1 week ago, but today they BOTH had an appointment at the National Institutes of Health. I learned today that the reason there is usually so much trouble getting in is because there has to be a study or clinical trial specific to your diagnosis happening for them to see you. That alone makes us say, "ain't God good?!"

Today has been busy and exhausting! It's 8 PM and both Liberty and Triton are passed out, however, I'm struggling to quiet my mind. Liberty and Triton had many eye test done, as well as genetic testing done. One particular test was quite uncomfortable and really gave them a glimpse of what it will be like to be both Deaf and Blind. This was terrifying for them--and us, if I'm being honest! Liberty shared that she really had to rely on her faith to get through it. It was very scary for her to trust someone she didn't know to keep her safe in an environment where she couldn't see or hear. My heart hurt so bad for them.

So what did we learn from this testing? We learned that the doctors and genetic counselor agree that we are looking at Usher Syndrome Type 1, but genetic testing will verify that for us. They are both suffering from thickening of the macula, which is basically a thickening of the fluid in the center of the retina. This is a symptom of the disease, but can be fixed with medication. We will need to contact the doctor if they aren't responding to the medication at their 2 month check up. Triton has it in both eyes, Liberty only her right eye. However, her left eye has macula atrophy which affects her central vision. The doctor said this is NOT normal at this stage in this disease and it cannot be fixed. So, she is basically blind in her left eye--this was a tough diagnosis for all of us.

Where do we go from here? We aren't sure. There are a few clinical trials that involve gene replacement therapy, but that requires them to have the MYO7A gene mutation. We are not sure what all that involves, but rest assured, we will research those as we wait for results. There are a lot of risks that come with this. What we do know is that IF we go this route, it will involve traveling to Oregon.

We have already heard, "Maybe they made a mistake and they won't go blind." We have already received countless messages and emails telling us how we can "fix" this or therapies that might help. I love that people care enough to research and try to help, but I assure you, anything that we can do in the present, comes with great risk. What we can do is pray for a miracle, but continue doing what we need to do to prepare us all for the day that they do go blind.

Please continue to pray with us!

Much Love,
Rich, Jeannette, Triton, Liberty, Justice, and Bryson
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From the Gratz Family:
What we feared would happen, did. Triton has also been diagnosed. The big question is “When will this happen?” The answer is, “We don’t know.” Our family is pretty fragile right now, so, we ask that everyone be gentle with us. Just pray for us, lift us up, & support us as you have been doing. Thank you!
Triton at Virginia Eye Institute
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$8,354 of $1 goal

Raised by 123 people in 13 months
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