Monday, April 30, 2012

Making Impossible Happen

If you read the acknowledgments of Eternal Starling, you might have seen a sentence that reads, "To my brother, Colten, and sister, Natasha, thank you for your optimism, and for teaching me long ago that absolutely nothing is impossible." I haven't really talked about this in the past, but I'm hoping my friends can help make the impossible happen again. 

Colten and Natasha were both born with a very rare syndrome called Peters Anomaly Plus syndrome. There are a lot of problems that come with Peter's Anomaly Plus, including: speech impediments; hearing problems; dwarfism; and the biggest issue, they were born blind.

In this news story from 1985, Ed Yeates from KSL News, and Colten and Natasha's doctor, Alan Crandall, explain Peters Plus much better than I can.

Colten was born after me, and was one of the first people in the world to be diagnosed with Peters Anomaly Plus. Doctors had no idea how to treat him, so they told my parents to put him in a hospital and wait for him to die. They said he'd never have normal brain function, never see, never be able to ride a bike, or go to school, and there was nothing that could be done. My parents wouldn't accept that. They searched all over the world for a doctor willing to treat Colten, and finally found one in Salt Lake City, UT, only 90 miles from our house--a miracle in and of itself.

Their doctor said he thought he could give Colten eyesight, but the surgeries Colten would need hadn't been done before, and they didn't know if it would work, especially on a baby. After several surgeries, they were able to save one of Colten's eyes. The doctors thought Colten's problem was the result of a chromosome translocation. They did genetic testing and said there was no way my parents would have another child with Peters Anomaly Plus. Then Natasha was born, and she had Peters Anomaly too. Because of the research they'd already done on Colten, they were able to save both of Natasha's eyes. Together, they've had over 85 surgeries. They did learn to ride a bike, they both graduated from high school, and then they graduated from college. It wasn't an easy road, but they've never given up, and their positive outlook on life always amazes me. They've done the impossible over and over again.

Though Colten and Natasha's vision has never been perfect, they've both been able to see...until a few weeks ago. Natasha's eye pressure went too high and she had to have emergency surgery. The recovery from the surgery didn't go as expected, and she had a reaction to the medication she was taking. She is now completely blind. Her doctors are hopeful that she'll get her vision back, but the next month is critical.

The fact is, we don't know what will happen right now. I refuse to believe that after everything Natasha has been through, that she's going to lose her sight now. When they were young, my mom and dad's community rallied around them. I think that support was part of the reason Colten and Natasha have done so well. So, I'm asking for my community to help too. I truly believe in the power of positive energy and thought, so if you have any to spare, please send it Natasha's way.

Thank you!!!



  1. praying for natasha and your family ~karen

  2. Natasha and I are so touched by your post today. We are so grateful for all that you do for us. We appreciate your strength, commitment, and love. We are on the way to the Doctor this morning and continue to have great faith that Natasha will see again. Thanks for this post. We appreciate your humor, love, support and help for your Dad who is working so hard while we are spending time in hospitals. You were always there as our "little caretaker" that watched over your siblings when others were frightened of them or wanted to hurt them at school. Thanks for all you do! You are truly amazing.
    Special thanks goes out to those around the world that are sending prayers, positive thoughts, and words of encouragement. We are feeling the uplift and are so grateful for each of them! We will succeed because our family is united and because of the united thoughts and prayers of everyone else! We love you Ang...and Dan and Pippin!
    Love, Mom and Natasha (and Dad and Colten)

  3. Praying for Natasha and your family! You've always been such a great family and rely on eac other. My prayers will come for all of you, but expecially Natasha!

  4. please pass are prayes to tasha and colten we have always been their for them both throw school and young woman and we love you all.
    love katie simmons a coucsin

  5. I'm very sorry to hear of this Angela!! Please help me tell Natasha that I'm sure she'll pull through. She's been so strong already; her perseverance will definitely see her through! I have two quotes for Natasha (and for Colten as well):

    “What the mind can conceive, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill
    I will join her in believing she can conquer this battle. I know she can! ;D

    "Belief creates the actual fact." - William James
    A simple, 5-word quote to keep Natasha and all of you guys in the family going! The effect of strong beliefs can be truly astounding.

    Though I myself don't have any idea who Napoleon Hill and William James are, their words make lots of sense and I hope they've helped you in one way or another (:

    Wishing you all the best and I hope Natasha makes a quick recovery!!

    Love from Singapore,
    Sherlyn (;