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Mother shares story of daughter living with microcephaly

From birth, she defied the odds with a rare condition that is now an epidemic. (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - She doesn't know how her baby got it but a local mom knows what it's like to live with a condition now linked to the Zika virus called microcephaly.

She shared her daughter's story and something she said was now an amazing gift. She felt called to be a voice for children living with microcephaly, which literally means "small head." While Thelma Farrow had no idea how years ago her own daughter ended up with the complication in pregnancy, she did have a few things she wanted everyone to know about it.

"What I would like to get out about the microcephaly is yes, there are developmental delays but there's also other problems," said Farrow.

Farrow said she was offered what many moms now with babies diagnosed with microcephaly in pregnancy were offered too, "I personally do not believe in abortion. I don't but I am glad there is a choice out there, for some people because some people may not be able to handle this."

By "this" she means the other complications Catie has endured for 23 years due to microcephaly. She is considered non-verbal and is on multiple medications to stop seizures she has had since she was 6-months-old.

"That's what most of them do die from is the epilepsy," said Farrow.

Catie has given her mother a lifetime of joy even though at birth Farrow said her doctor thought Catie would barely survive, "He told me that she would probably be stillborn, and if not she would probably only live a couple hours."

Now as she plays one of Catie's favorite games with her, Farrow realizes every day a delicate balance keeps Catie beating the odds.

"She is one of the ones that is this old and still living. I have a lot of people behind me, prayer and faith, that's what's gotten us through this for so many years," said Farrow.

Farrow wanted to share Catie's story, "Because everybody keeps telling me that God chooses special people to do this."

And no doubt she is a special mom and Catie has lots of special gifts that lift others up who are around her.

"But I just ask everyone to give it a chance, give it a chance because these kids make you a better person than you would ever, ever think about being, and these kids have a lot of fight and a lot of will in them," said Farrow.

Catie's mom said she also wanted to let people know the earlier they start any child with disabilities with a therapy team the more they are able to grow and thrive. The first baby born with microcephaly in the United States linked to Zika was born in May 2016. Researchers are now working on a vaccine against the Zika virus, which also could help reduce the risk of this complication in pregnancy.

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