A lot of people enjoy taking newborn pictures of their children and sharing them with people. Patricia Williams was no exception to this. She lovingly photographed her son. But when it came to sharing his pictures with others, she was met with a nasty surprise.
Keep reading to know more…
In 2012, Patricia’s son Redd was born. The little boy was born with white hair but it was only when he was two months old that his mother started noticing several different things about him.
The infant’s eyes would move side to side and when her husband Dale ventured to Google the reason for this, he was met with a shocking revelation; it was a symptom associated commonly with albinism. Having not even heard the term before, Patricia was skeptical but the little boy had all the markers for albinism; pale skin, white hair, and tracking eyes.
The next step the couple took was to meet an optometrist and genetic specialists to help with an official diagnosis. It was made official; Redd had Oculocutaneous Albinism Type one (OCA1) a condition which affects 1 in 17,000 people globally.
Patricia recalled the excitement the staff at the hospital had when Redd was born, everyone wanted to see the baby born with white hair and blue eyes. But at the time Patricia did not blink an eye because she and her husband as well as her firstborn son Gage all had blonde hair.
She recalled how a month after they brought Redd home she noticed his hair was so white it would sparkle in the son. And even when she tried blocking his eyes, they would track and he would not avert them. His eyes were also so blue that they would sparkle red in certain lights.
Patricia was sure her son would outgrow these traits but it was only when her second son was born with the same condition that she realized it was a lifelong thing.
In February 2018, Rockwell was born with the same condition as his older brother. The little boy’s newborn images were stolen and turned into cruel memes by people on social media.
Redd had also experienced bullying during school where children made fun of him for looking different. His big brother Gage became protective of him because of it. But when Rockwell was born the family already knew a lot of albinism and hence were fully prepared. But what they had not prepared for was their little boy’s pictures being turned into a meme.
At first Dale and Patricia reached out to everyone who shared the image to delete it but they soon realized that it was an impossible endeavor hence they decided to just ignore the entire thing.
They decided to become advocates for raising awareness about the condition so children who had it would not be bullied for being different. When Redd’s albinism had been confirmed by professionals, Patricia was very upset.
She was worried how the child would be treated in life for being different and how their family dynamics would shift with a child who burned easily and could be legally blind.
She explained why Rockwell received so much attention. She said, “It’s very unusual to see a baby with white hair, and Rockwell’s hair sticks straight up, so it’s very noticeable.”
After images of he son became a viral meme, she gained a lot of followers. Soon she started receiving questions about why her son looked the way he looked and it dawned on her; people did not know about albinism.
She realized what people knew about albinism came from obscure movies with little representation. Thus she figure she had a unique opportunity; to spread awareness about albinism.
Redd received eye surgery to correct his strabismus and shifted from a private school for blind children to a public one. The surgery was a brilliant decision for the family as it helped Redd a lot.
They opted for the surgery as opposed to Redd wearing an eye patch as that would have further made the child stand out and get unwanted attention. Now as Redd grew older, his friends noticed his ‘differences’ less and less.
All they knew was that Redd needed a hat, dark sunglasses, and sunscreen to play outside but apart from that he could do everything any other child could. And just like Redd, his little brother Rockwell also flourished.
On April 28, 2023, Patricia shared a clip of Rockwell from his school’s “Western Day.” This time around the little boy was met with a lot of love and appreciation on social media. People called the little boy “cute” and “adorable.”
Patricia explained how there was a big misconception that people with albinism have red eyes. She said they tend to have light blue eyes because their eyes lack pigment.
The boys are now thriving and living their best lives!
We are so happy for this wonderful family. Please share this incredible story with your Facebook friends. Everyone will surely appreciate it!