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.
- Courtney Shilling
- Carol Cardwell
- Lynn West