Yisroel is a very special 6 year boy who was born with a very rare genetic syndrome. It is so rare that there is no name for it- it’s the only one of its kind that his doctors have seen. When he was first born, his parents didn’t know anything. They found themselves in the NICU for what would be a few uneventful days of phototherapy for his jaundice. What they didn’t know is that bringing him to the NICU for some lights ended up saving his life, and changing his families life forever.
During routine exams for all the babies, the doctor found something distinct in Yisroel’s eye called a Coloboma. It can be an isolated issue that has no effect on a child or it can mean a genetic abnormality. From there they checked every system in his body. One thing lead to the next and they found issues with his heart, kidneys, hearing, vision, and overall development.
Those few nights at the NICU turned into 3 months during which he went through a few surgeries and too many blood transfusions to count. They found out that he had a rare genetic syndrome that would change his life forever. But because it was an unknown syndrome, his doctors couldn’t tell his parents much. They told his parents he may never be able to walk or talk or play, and that his syndrome can even affect his life expectancy.
Yisroel goes through a lot. At 6 years old, he’s been through more than what most adults go through. He has every reason in the world to feel like he was given an unfair deal. He has every reason to feel frustrated and angry at his situation and just want to give up. But he doesn’t. And neither do his parents.
Yisroel has so many great qualities. He’s the happiest little boy you’ve ever met. He takes everything and anything thrown at him and fights it with all he’s got. He’s strong and resilient in his own way. And so with everything that Yisroel goes through, and to still see him be as happy and content as he is, everyone can learn a tremendous amount from him. He teaches his parents what it is to truly appreciate every aspect of life. He’s loving and caring and has the purest little soul.
Yisroel doesn’t know what this journey means to him. He doesn’t understand his situation. But he does know how to find true happiness in a hard situation. He knows what it is to have to fight to do what comes naturally to most people, like walking and talking and playing and eating. But he doesn’t give up. And he’s now doing things that most people (even doctors) said was going to be impossible. He’s 6 years old and has taught me more about life than I could’ve ever figured out on my own. And he does the same for everyone who meets him.
Yisroel’s journey is a hard one. There are ups and downs. Some good times and bad times. But it’s a journey.