The Famigletti Family (Casey, Regan, Gracie, and Doug)
I met Casey at the preschool where my youngest daughter Peyton attends. Her two year old little girl, Regan is in Peyton's class. Along with Regan, she totes along little Gracie in her infant carrier. Gracie is beautiful - with bright blue eyes and the best demeanor you can ask for in a little baby. So it was weeks when I even noticed that she had on hearing aids and to find out that what I thought was a two month old baby is actually almost 8 months old. Casey told me a little bit about Gracie - born premature at 30 weeks, she spent 2 1/2 months at NICU and is profoundly deaf in both ears. Then just last week, she invited me to join a meeting that she was having at her house to raise awareness on Gracie's condition. It was only this time when I realized what really caused Gracie's condition and how serious it is. And worse of all, how little information soon to be or pregnant women are given on this virus.
It is called Cytomegalovirus (si-to-MEG-a-lo-vi-rus) or CMV. It is a common virus that infects people of all ages. Once CMV is in a person's body, it stays there for life. Most infections with CMV are "silent", meaning most people who are infected with CMV have no signs or symptoms. CMV can be transmitted to the unborn child of a mother with a primary CMV infection. When a baby catches CMV prior to birth, this is called Congenital CMV.
Every year, 1 in 150 children is born with congenital CMV.
Congenital CMV causes deafness, blindness, cerebral palsy, mental and physical disabilities, seizures, and death. It is more common than Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and yet so many people remain unaware of it and it's effects. Transmission of the virus can be prevented by educating yourself on the risk factors, symptoms, and ways to prevent transmission. This is Casey's goal - to reach out to as many people as possible starting in our area to raise awareness and to educate women who are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.
For more information, please visit Stop CMV. To read Casey's story, click here. Reach out to help by spreading the word on CMV.