Mariah Anderson, of Summerville, South Carolina, was born with Chromosome Two Duplication Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that reduces her motor skills and also lowers her life expectancy.
She turned two years old on February 28, 2015, and while celebrating the day, her mother took a picture and uploaded it to Facebook. But the picture soon went viral and was shared by thousands online who turned it into a cruel meme.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users poked fun at the tot’s appearance, and when the family read the posts they were heartbroken.
Mariah’s mother, Kyra Pringle said: “The things you guys are saying about my child, she’s not a monster, she’s real. The smile that you guys think is funny or the smile that you guys are comparing to a leprechaun.”
Chromosome Two Duplication Syndrome has only recently been discovered and it is usually diagnosed in young children. The first published report of a person with a pure Chromosome Two Duplication Syndrome was in 1973. Out of 120 cases that have been discovered, roughly half of the children lived above the age of 12, according to support groups.
Her grandmother Linda Pringle said: “If you’re out there and you’re doing these things, and you think that it’s funny, it’s not funny.” The Pringles hope their words will help put an end to the harassment so she and her family can return to enjoying their time with Anderson which, because of her condition, could be limited. “She’s just a joy, it’s a joy to have her right now,” said Kyra Pringle.
“This is actually a human being. This is a child, this is a baby.”
Characteristics of Chromosome Two Duplication Syndrome include developmental deficiencies, congenital heart defects, and abnormalities of the skull, fingers, toes, spine, and genitials. Access to programs and services such as physical therapy, speech therapy, educational support, social/vocational/medical services, genetic counseling and support groups is recommended.