Martinsburg , Missouri
Start Date: August 12, 2023
Meet the DeWitt family – a beautiful example of pro-life heroism in action. Here’s their inspiring story.
Gemma and Aaron met while serving together in the military. They quickly fell in love, got married, and were soon blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby girl, Rachele followed by a healthy baby boy, Moses, a little over a year later.
Life was busy and happy and after some time, the DeWitts welcomed baby number 3 with great joy…a son Ezykiel. It soon became apparent, however, that something was amiss. As he grew, he was not able to meet developmental milestones. His tone was poor. Tests followed upon tests, but no one seemed able to provide answers. Finally, a specialist diagnosed Ezykiel with Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome (AHDS) — also known at MCT8 deficiency — an ultra-rare genetic disorder that affects a child’s cognition, mobility and overall health. With only 320 known cases existing worldwide, research was very limited and there is currently no known cure or treatment for the syndrome. Ezykiel would require total care, would be non-verbal and wheelchair bound. They were told that, as carriers of this genetic disorder, there was a 50% chance any future sons would also be affected (daughters had a 50% chance of being carriers but would not be affected themselves).
Embracing God’s will and trusting in His providence, the DeWitts remained open to life despite these challenges, and, a few years later, welcomed another baby boy, Jeremiah, who was also afflicted with the same syndrome.
The following years held many challenges for the family, financial, emotional, physical and practical, as they adjusted to life with two special needs, total care children while also homeschooling the older two children and caring for a growing homestead - frequent doctor’s appointments, specialized medical equipment, adding a wheelchair ramp to the home, obtaining a handicap accessible van able to accommodate 2 wheelchairs plus the rest of the family, not to mention the day-to-day, moment-to-moment, 24/7 care requirements of feeding, bathing, diapering, therapy etc. for the two youngest. Their steadfast trust in God as well as the love, joy and peace with which they have embraced these challenges and poured themselves out in selfless love and sacrifice for their children has been truly inspirational to those of us blessed to know them.
Also beautiful and inspirational, is the way in which they have faithfully transmitted their deep Catholic Faith as well as the preciousness of every human life to their children. Rachele (13) and Moses (11) are quick to help with their younger brothers whenever needed, uncomplainingly tending to their needs with patience and love. The younger two, although non-verbal can clearly communicate! Ezykiel (7) is learning to use a specialized computer screen that he can navigate with his eyes, and is often seen selecting his favorite prayers to pray along with. Jeremiah (5) lights up a room with his infectious smile and the joyful spark in his eyes!
While such circumstances would have been viewed by many as a burden, they have embraced them as a blessing and remained ever open to God’s will in their lives, including an unwavering openness to life, even hoping and praying for more children despite knowing their chances of having another disabled son.
After suffering multiple miscarriages, the DeWitts were overjoyed to learn that they were expecting again, and this time twins! They prayed earnestly that the babies would either be girls, or if boys, that they would be healthy, but abandoned themselves and their children fully to God’s will. As the pregnancy progressed, tests revealed that the babies were both boys…identical twin boys. They knew that either both would be affected, or both would be healthy. The wait was eternal. Finally, the test results were in…and they were devastating. Both boys had AHDS.
Once again, faced with news that would have caused many to despair or question God, the DeWitts responded with inspirational trust and abandonment to His will praying that God would use these challenges for His greater glory.
As they prepare to welcome the boys in late October, many uncertainties remain (like how severely the boys will be affected) and many material needs remain unmet – perhaps the greatest and most urgent of which is transportation! Their current handicap modified van can only accommodate two wheelchairs, and does not have enough additional seating to secure two car seats during the infant stage. They will need a new, larger handicap modified van ASAP, which will represent a significant financial hardship for the family!
Please help this remarkable family, most of all with your prayers, but also with any financial contribution you are able to make! May God bless you and thank you in advance for your generosity!