In December 2013, Taryn and Vincent DiCandilio were happy to welcome their healthy son, Owen James, into the world. They told the Daily Mail, “He was a healthy boy. There weren’t any complications during the pregnancy and we took him home with everything looking absolutely fine.”
However, when Owen was three-weeks old he become abnormally irritable and wasn’t able to do things most infants could do easily. Initially doctors said there was nothing to worry about with little Owen but Taryn suspected that something was seriously wrong. She said, “Doctors would say it was reflux during my first few appointments. They told me nothing was wrong and I was sent on my way, assured there was no reason to be alarmed and this was something that would pass.”
Then, at 10-weeks old, Taryn noticed that there was something off about Owen’s vision. She said, “At ten weeks we noticed some problems with his vision. He wasn’t reaching out to touch toys or looking at or following things in front of his face. That really sparked an alarm bell. From then on, I was quite pushy – I just wanted to know why my little man wasn’t the happiest.”
Unfortunately, Taryn and Vincent found out that their son had a rare genetic brain malformation called Lissencephaly. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, the term Lissencephaly means smooth brain and is characterized by the absence of normal folds in the cerebral cortex and an abnormally small head. Tragically, Owen’s family was told he would never talk, see, walk, show emotion or hold up his own head. In fact, the condition is so severe that doctors told Taryn and Vincent that their son wouldn’t live past ten-years-old.
Taryn explained, “If you read up on the condition, you’d be hard pressed to find anything that offers much hope.” Additionally, the condition can lead to developmental delays, impaired vision, spastic quadriplegic, cerebral palsy and epileptic seizures. Remarkably, however, Owen is doing incredibly well and is even laughing and smiling. Taryn said, “We never knew whether our son would laugh, but now laughs every day.” Unbelievably he’s also learning to stand and sit on how own thanks to intense therapy.
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Taryn concluded, “Owen, or our young warrior, is a fighter who is full of smiles and laughter and with the support he has from all his family, friends and the wider community. We believe there is hope.”
In the video below, watch and see how much progress Owen has made.