Many parents enjoy showing off adorable photos of their brand-new babies to friends and family. This was also true for Patricia Williams.
She snapped photos of her son with tenderness. But when she tried to show off his photo collection to her friends, she got an unpleasant shock.
Patricia gave birth to her son Redd in 2012. The baby boy’s mother didn’t notice that he had white hair until he was two months old, among other things.
When Dale looked up why their baby’s eyes kept darting from side to side, he discovered something shocking: this was a typical indicator of albinism.
Patricia was doubtful because she had never heard of the term, but the boy certainly displayed the symptoms of albinism, including extremely fair skin, white hair, and tracking eyes.
The pair then consulted with an optician and geneticist for a more definitive diagnosis.
Oculocutaneous Albinism Type 1 (OCA1), which affects 1 in 17,000 persons worldwide, was confirmed as Redd’s diagnosis.
Patricia remembers the eager anticipation of the hospital personnel at the birth of Redd because of his unusual white hair and blue eyes.
Patricia, her husband, and their firstborn son, Gage, all had blonde hair, so she didn’t bat an eye.
Redd’s hair was so white that it glistened in the sunlight, she remembered thinking a month after they brought him home.
Even though she tried to shield herself from his gaze, he continued to follow her.
His eyes were a striking shade of blue, bordering on red, in some illuminations.
When Patricia’s second son was born with the same problem, she knew it was something they would have to deal with for the rest of their lives.
Rockwell was born with the same problem as his older sibling in February of 2018. People on social media used stolen photographs of the newborn infant to create horrible jokes.
Redd has also been the target of schoolyard taunts and teasing because of his appearance. Because of this, his older sibling Gage began to watch out for him.
However, as Rockwell’s parents had done extensive research on albinism before his birth, they were well-prepared for his arrival. However, they were unprepared for their son’s photos to go viral online.
At first, Dale and Patricia tried to get in touch with everyone who had shared the image to ask them to remove it, but they quickly realized that this was an impossible task.
In an effort to prevent future bullying of children who were diagnosed with the disorder, they chose to become activists for spreading awareness about it.
After doctors confirmed Redd had albinism, Patricia was devastated.
She was concerned about how the child’s burning susceptibility and possible legal blindness would affect the child’s future and the family’s relationship.
She clarified the buzz around Rockwell. Her comment was something like, “It’s very unusual to see a baby with white hair, and Rockwell’s hair sticks straight up, so it’s very noticeable.”
She got a large fan base after a meme featuring her son went viral. As time went on, she began fielding inquiries regarding her son’s appearance and realized that many people were unaware of albinism.
What little she knew about albinism came from underrepresented films, she realized. She realized that this was her chance to raise public awareness about albinism.
After having strabismus surgery, Redd transferred from a private school for the visually impaired to a regular public school. The operation proved to be an excellent choice for Redd and his loved ones.
Since having Redd wear an eye patch would have made him even more noticeable, the family decided to have him surgically corrected instead.
Now that Redd was older, his ‘differences’ were becoming less noticeable to his peers.
To play outside, Redd required a hat, dark shades, and sunscreen, but other than that, he was just like any other kid. And Rockwell, Redd’s younger sibling, did quite well for himself.