Most parents wait anxiously for that first smile from their newborn.
Eric and Mykel McFall have been waiting for three years, and will probably never see their son, Kash, with a smile on his face.
It’s not that Kash is an unhappy child, but he was born with a rare condition called Mobius Syndrome, which affects his cranial nerve.
“Kash has facial paralysis, which renders him unable to smile or frown, and he can’t blink or squint his eyes,” said Mykel.
Kash is fortunate, Mykel said, in that he has a mild case and was diagnosed when he was 3 days old.
“It’s a blessing, because some people with Mobius Syndrome aren’t diagnosed until they are teenagers, or even adults,” she explained. “Many doctors have never heard of it, and there is no cure for it.”
Eric said the disease doesn’t affect mentality or life span.
“A lot of Mobius adults live fulfilling lives,” he noted. “One in particular was a CNN correspondent at the White House. Another case we read about was a lawyer.”
In addition to a lack of facial movement, Kash has a deformed right hand and an asymmetrical tongue, which causes struggles with speech.
“Kash is in speech therapy, and we’re seeing a lot of good things come from that,” said Mykel. “He will start preschool in August.”
The McFalls, who have been married six years and live in Carmargo in Western Oklahoma, have gone through a lot of testing to determine what genes are involved in the condition. They know that it is genetic, but Kash’s 6-month-old sister, Kennedi, has no sign of Mobius Syndrome.
The McFalls say they’ve seen a lot of miracles in Kash’s young life.
“We almost lost Kash when he was 3 weeks old due to a medical mistake,” said Mykel. “He coded, but God saved his life. So we know God has a plan for Kash, and we want to take every opportunity we can to share what God has done through his life and our lives because of him.”
With that as a catalyst, Eric, who is an electrician by trade, resigned his position as youth minister at Hammon, First, to step out and help churches understand the importance of ministering to families who have special needs children.
“Statistics show that the divorce rate is much higher for parents with special needs children, because the stress level goes way up,” said Eric. “We would like to go to churches and help train Sunday School workers on how they can minister to these children and to the parents.”
Eric pointed out that awareness is the number one problem—helping people realize there is a need to stop and ask the parents, “How can I best help your child?”
“A lot of times, the kids are just thrown in a Sunday School class, or teachers assume, because they have a handicap, they can’t learn or be ministered to,” Eric stated. “A lot of people don’t think about that. They see the handicap, and they can’t look past it.”
He emphasized that their number one goal is to share their story and raise awareness, pointing out things that have happened in their lives.
The McFalls recently shared their story at Prairie View Church near Elk City.
“We were blessed to hear their testimony,” said Pastor Charles Henthorn. “Their journey in discovering the incredible blessing they have in Kash is an encouragement worth sharing.”
“We just want an opportunity to share what God has done in our lives,” said Eric. “We believe God will open doors, and if He wants us at a training event, that’s where we’ll be. If He wants us to share our testimony, that’s what we’ll do. We feel God has a plan for everything. We know He gave us Kash for a reason, and we want to make sure we are faithful with that.”
The McFalls may be reached through their website at McFallministries.org.