RANBURNE, Ala. (WIAT) — A photo of a little boy was turned into a cruel internet meme, but when his mother found out about it, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Grayson Smith’s parents can come up with a lot of different ways to describe their son.
“He’s his own little boss,” said Kendyl, Grayson’s father. “He’s energetic, he’s outgoing, he’s funny.”
“He’s just your average 3-and-a-half year old that just wants to play and have friends,” explained Grayson’s mother, Jennifer. “He’s just as lovable and normal and kind as any other 3 year old.”
Grayson loves Adele and Alabama football. He’s also a medical miracle.
He was born with 22 different medical anomalies.
“Hydrocephalis is the main one,” Jennifer explained. “It’s water on the brain.”
She said she and her husband were told Grayson was blind, and that he would likely not live more than two weeks.
“They wanted us to bring him home, do nothing and let him die,” Jennifer said.
Instead, Grayson defied the odds. He’ll turn 4 years old in February, and he loves playing with his iPad.
In November, someone decided to describe Grayson in a much less favorable way.
A photo was taken from a Facebook page set up for him called “Grayson’s Story.” The picture was then turned into a viral meme with a caption that read: “That face you make when your parents are actually cousins.”
The toddler’s parents were outraged.
“How could someone be so cruel? He’s an innocent child,” Jennifer said. “To have someone turn him into this laughing mockery joke– it was mind blowing.”
Just as the Smiths wouldn’t accept when doctors told them their son would die as an infant, they’re not accepting this either.
“We’re gonna fight back, and we’re gonna make it public about what happened,” stated Jennifer.
Since she started speaking publicly about the meme and her son’s story, the family has been overwhelmed with positive responses.
“It was heartwarming to hear them say, ‘I was one of those people who laughed, and I apologize now that I read [Grayson’s] story,’” Jennifer said.
She has also been contacted by other parents of disabled children, looking for advice on battling tough medical obstacles.
Jennifer says her message to other parents is don’t give up and “keep going because you’ll eventually get there.”
Grayson is still considered terminally ill. He has undergone many surgeries, remains on several medications, and makes regular trips to several different specialists in Birmingham, Alabama.
His family has started a fundraising page to help with his expenses. To donate, click here.