A disabled child is a victim of cyberbullying
In 2013, Jenny Smith and her boyfriend Kendyl of Alabama were anxiously awaiting the birth of their little boy, Grayson Kole. When the big day finally arrived, not everything went as planned.
Jenny remembers: "On February 15, 2013 Kendyl and I gave birth to our miracle baby. Grayson Kole. As soon our baby made his grand entrance, we waited for the sound of his first cry. And waited. Nothing. My heart sank."
Fortunately, a few minutes later, Grayson started to cry, but very weakly. Jenny knew that something was wrong.
"I asked my doctor what is wrong with him? She responded 'I do not know right now.' I immediately asked Kendyl's mom and my mom to please leave the room. I broke down. I knew in my heart and soul Grayson was in trouble fighting for his life. I prayed. I cried."
"My world went blank when [Kendyl] said they are transporting Grayson to children's hospital in Atlanta. I immediately panicked and said we have to go to Atlanta. He then started to tell me what he saw when he went to see Grayson. He is breathing on his own. He has a huge bump on the back of his head. His has no bone in his thumbs. He has cleft palate. He only has three toes on each foot."
Grayson was born with 22 birth defects. Doctors didn't expect him to survive and informed the parents that they should prepare for the worst. But as Jenny and Kendyl held Grayson in their arms, they were determined to fight for his life.
Over the next years, Grayson's parents made sure that their son received the best possible treatment. He has undergone many procedures and operations, and his quality of life continues to improve. To handle the huge medical expenses, the Smith family started a fundraising page. Then, something unbelievable happened.
Somebody took Grayson's picture and created a meme which read: "That face you make when your parents are actually cousins."
"How could someone be so cruel? He’s an innocent child," Jenny said. "To have someone turn him into this laughing mockery joke – it was mindblowing." Still, Grayson's mother knew that she had to rise above the bullying.
To cope and connect with others, Jenny created a Facebook page called Grayson's Story. The family has received an enormous amount of positive feedback and encouragement, especially from those who have also experienced cyberbullying.
"It was heartwarming to hear them say, 'I was one of those people who laughed, and I apologize now that I read [Grayson’s] story,'" Jenny said.
She was contacted by other parents of disabled children, seeking advice on overcoming medical obstacles. Jenny encourages these parents to never give up: "Keep going because you’ll eventually get there."
Today Grayson is three years old and his battle is far from over. Lucky for him, this little boy has a family willing to fight for him every step of the way.