Sunday, November 25, 2007

Girl whom docs wanted aborted (due to 'fatal' defect) celebrates sweet 16

You really have to watch the video of the following story by reporter Amber Miller of News Channel 11 in Bristol, Tenn.:

Lori Vance went against the doctors' wishes and saw her pregnancy through to birth.

Now on her daughter's sweet sixteenth birthday, the family is celebrating her triumphant life.

The Vance family told News Channel 11 that a fatal disorder isn't always a death sentence.

At 16-years-old, one of the hardest decisions for Donna Joy Vance is what to wear.

Sitting on the couch with her mother, Donna blushes over a TV crush. "We're celebrating Donna Joy's 16th birthday,” Lori Vance Said. “It's a special day because it's a day the doctors and so-called experts way back when said would never come to be."

At seven months into the pregnancy, doctors realized that Donna Joy had a brain disorder called Holoprosencephaly, or HPE.

Physicians told Lori Vance that her child would be completely blind, likely deaf, likely born with no face, no ability to move limbs or suck and swallow.

"Basically, everything that makes you a human being was going to be missing," Vance told News Channel 11. "They wanted to terminate the pregnancy because they said she was going to die anyway," Vance said.

Vance refused.

She was determined to give Donna Joy a chance. "Even if it was only for a few minutes—to give her some dignity, wrap her up in a pretty blanket. Say ‘I love you’ and let her go," Vance said.

But mother and child never had to say goodbye.

Donna Joy is beating the odds.

While the pre-natal studies on Donna Joy's brain were accurate, her functions have surpassed expectations.

"She didn't read the book on this disorder,” Vance said. “No one told her she couldn't do these things. So she does them anyway."

Among Donna Joy's accomplishments: Special Olympics track medals, modeling, singing and beauty pageants.
Again, watch the video of this beautiful teenage girl and her mother, who so clearly loves her dearly. Kudos to reporter Miller for covering the story.

RELATED: Be Not Afraid and Prenatal Partners for Life are great resources for parents of children with poor prenatal diagnoses.