This is 3 year old Catalina, Tina for short. She was born with Blepharophimosis Syndrome (BPES). In her situation, she has barely 1mm opening in each of her eyes. She has had 2 surgeries to date.
Words from her mom: “When she was about 7 weeks old, she had her first surgery. The surgery went well, and about an hour after we arrived home, she opened her eyes and looked at me for the first time, and she smiled. It was her very first smile ever, and I cried for probably the 20th time that day, but they were the best tears I think I have ever cried.
Last summer, my husband and I took our daughters to one of those fast food restaurants that has the indoor playground. After the girls had eaten, they went out to play on the playground with the other kids. Being the over-protective mom that I am, I am always watching like a hawk to make sure Tina is being treated fairly. On this day, another little girl, probably about 4 or 5 years old, came running up to Tina and backed her into a corner. The little girl grabbed Tina by the shoulders and started shaking her really hard, and screaming in her face “What is wrong with you?! What is wrong with your face?! What is wrong with your eyes?!” I think it was the first time Tina really recognized that there was something different about her. She was screaming in terror and this little girl would not leave her alone. My heart broke into a thousand pieces that day. She looked so helpless.
I don’t want her to ever feel that way. I want her to be proud of her beautiful eyes, not ashamed by them. I want her to be so proud of them that no one can take that away from her. This coming fall, she will be starting school for the first time. I know she is going to have hard days at school, and I think being able to come home and look at the beautiful pictures of her own special features and just how pretty everyone else sees her might help her out on those hard days to come.”