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Rare Disease & Syndrome

Dorsey Ross

Overcoming Apert Syndrome

My name is Dorsey Ross, and I was born with a birth defect called Apert Syndrome, which is a birth defect of the hands and the face.  When I was born on January 16th 1977, my parents were unaware of the possibility of them having a child with a birth defect. 

Apert Syndrome is a birth defect of the hands and face. At birth my forehead was pushed outward, my eyes and nose were pushed back into my head, and my fingers and toes were fused together, meaning I had no individual movement of them. Doctors advised my parents that because I had no skull opening, and no room for my brain to grow, that I would eventually become brain dead, and because of this that I should be put into an institution.

Growing up with Apert Syndrome

Thankfully my parents believed and trusted in God, and knew that God had a plan and a purpose for my life. My parents took me home, and at six weeks of age I had my first of many operations to open the skull, and allow my brain to grow. Throughout my life, I have had to undergo sixty-eight operations over my 41 years of life. Growing up, I was teased made fun of, called monster and freak. Although I did have some friends, I often felt like they were only playing with me because I was the one with all the toys. Even though I went to a school for people with disabilities, even at that school, people with made fun of me, and called me names.

You're an Overcomer

Though my parents always encouraged me, and helped me to realize that their wasn’t much that I couldn’t do. Because of this, my life mantra is can’t is not in my vocabulary. I have tried bowling, baseball, rock climbing, and even floor hockey in my high school gym. Even though I was never the A plus student, and was never on the honor roll, I wanted to try and attend college. My high school history teacher even told me that I wouldn’t be able to make it. Though I wasn’t going to say I can’t, so I tried it anyway.  Four years in community college, and five years in Bible college for a total of nine years. Even though I struggled, and wondered at times if I was going to make it, I graduated on May 5th, 2005, with a Bachelor’s degree in youth ministry. Sometimes, life throws us a curveball, and the youth ministry didn’t really turn out, but now I am an evangelist and I travel around the country speaking at different churches and events. Regardless of what happens in life, don’t allow your disability to stop you from doing what it is you want to do in your life. You’re an overcomer.

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