My name is Sarah Tassi – I’m a stay at home mom with my son, Preston. I’m 34 years old and live in Des Moines, IA with my husband (Jason) and our beautiful Preston who just turned two years old.
We were blessed with Preston in 2012—with what we expected to be a typical pregnancy. However, we soon were to become surprised the day of the delivery. Preston was born with no fingers on his right hand. My first thoughts were, “How could this be? What did I do wrong?” He also had some difficulty with his breathing right away and so instead of being able to hold our newborn post-delivery, the doctors and nurses took him away from us and started to evaluate him. Thankfully, Preston’s breathing ended up being ok. But, we would soon learn over the course of the next two days that Preston’s difference was not only about his hand.
Preston was born with Moebius Syndrome. Moebius affects the 6th and 7th cranial nerves; which in turn, affect the muscles of the face and eyes. This means Preston is completely paralyzed on both sides of his face and his eyes cannot abduct (move side to side) or blink (without thought). That said, I can tell when he is smiling from his eyes anyway! The hand difference was related to the syndrome as well. I have learned that hand and foot differences can happen if you have a baby with Moebius, and it can also impact speech. Therefore, we are in speech therapy for Presto, and in time I know he will be able to communicate with us. He will also undergo a re-animation (“smile”) surgery around age 4 or 5. The surgery consists of taking a segment of the thigh muscle and implanting in his face to help with eating, drinking, speech and expressions.
With all this said, Preston is ultimately a very healthy little boy and we know he is truly our miracle! We continue to look on the bright side and put everything in perspective. For example, Moebius could’ve affected many other areas of his body. Some children have permanent trachs, some have many more issues with their sight, hearing, and speaking.
There are so many things we all take for granted and so after having Preston, each day, I learn more and more from this precious boy. He truly gives me more appreciation for the little things. He may not have it ‘easy’ but easily gains respect from others when they see what he is capable of doing! Preston truly amazes us also with his abilities! With the ‘standards’ testing with his doctor he is a ’60 out of 60′ in the gross motor skills category. He loves playing basketball, golf, soccer. There’s no limiting him because he’s missing a few fingers! I know we were given Preston because G-d has many great plans for us and for him!
We will always support him in all that he wants to do, and our plan has always been to raise him with a ‘can do’ attitude! As we have always believed through our faith, “All things are possible.” And that’s the way we hope Preston will one day look at his life–that he doesn’t let something that could potentially bring him down limit him. Instead, we are raising him so he can draw strength from it and want to do great things which I know in my heart he is capable of doing! Even before having our son, I have always had a big heart for people and Preston has made me want to be an even better person. After all, we are all a little different, right?
Thanks for the opportunity to share our story!
Sarah, Jason, & Preston Tassi
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14