Angie Rodgers is the mother of 4 yr old Grace Anna, a beautiful little girl who has an unusual genetic dysfunction identified as Conradi Hunermann Syndrome, otherwise known as dwarfism A few months back, R.I.S.E. & STAND shared her story with our readers. We spoke about how our entire team is extremely inspired by Grace every time we see another one of her videos.
Grace has struggled since birth to do many things we all take for granted. There are some things she may never be able to do, but there is no doubt in our mind that she is a special gift from God.
When Mrs. Rodgers was pregnant with Grace, the doctors insisted she have an abortion. Angie was in her third month of pregnancy when the doctor noticed Grace had skeletal anomalies and would be born with issues. They tried to convince Mrs. Rodgers that Grace would have a poor quality of life and never be able to live happy. She was told taking care of her baby would be too much work and she was just setting herself up for misery if she kept her child.
However, Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers are Christians and have a strong faith. They did not believe in abortion and felt like God had a plan. They prayed, and asked others to pray.
Sure enough, Grace was born with the rare form of dwarfism. The doctors said she probably would not walk, and would likely be both blind and deaf.
Conradi-Hunermann syndrome is a rare genetic disorder characterized by skeletal malformations, skin abnormalities and cataracts, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. It is caused by an X-linked dominant trait that occurs almost exclusively in girls; boys born with the syndrome usually do not survive.
If it wasn’t terrifying enough for Mrs. Rogers to know what her new baby had in store for her, Grace also experienced meconium aspiration during birth, a life-threatening condition that occurs when a baby inhales its first stool during or before delivery. Angie had no idea if her little girl was even going to survive. For over 12 hours she could not see her daughter and really didn’t know what to even expect.
“I didn’t know if she would make it – they didn’t tell me anything,” said Rodgers. “I never saw her for the first 12 hours and when I did, she had scales on three-quarters of her body. The only place with no scales were her face and butt. They fell off in three months.” -Angie Rodgers
All mothers worry and stress over their little ones. We check on them several times throughout the night to see if they are breathing well, if their diapers are clean, if they are sleeping peacefully. I know when my kids were infants I was terrified of SIDS. Mrs. Rodgers fears were more than most of us could handle. All she could do was give her burdens to God and pray for the best. One thing Angie never did was give up. She spent countless hours educating herself about the disease.
She found ways to work with Grace as she grew. Mrs. Rodgers soon learned when Grace was around 14 months old that little Gracie loved music. It was also apparent that she was a very bright little girl. At about 16 months old, Grace started to sing several songs. Despite all the struggles and complications she had already been through, Grace loved to laugh.
In 2012, after complicated surgery, Grace almost died during surgery to fuse her malformed spine when her lungs nearly collapsed. Little Grace was in the hospital for 22 days and in a body cast for six months. Can you imagine a little toddler having to be in a body cast for that long?
Gracie didn’t let it get her down though. She began spending her time listening to music and singing. One of her favorite pass times was singing with her Mom.
Mrs. Rodgers tried other things like reading and drawing to with Grace but all Grace wanted to do was sing.
“For someone who failed a hearing test, she sings well,” she said. “Summer rolled around and she was singing the whole first verse of ‘Amazing Grace’ – loud and proud. You know the line: ‘I was blind, but now can see. -Angie Rodgers”
In 2013, Mrs. Rodgers posted a video of Grace singing, “The Star Spangled Banner” In no time the video was seen around the world by over 350,000 people. Little Grace was an internet celebrity!
When Mrs. Rodgers saw how much the people loved Grace and was inspired by her, she created her a Facebook page and website, you can visit them here: graceannasings(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)live.com" href="https://web.archive.org/web/20141021174437/http://riseandstand.net/2014/10/17/amazing-person-of-the-week-angie-rodgers/graceannasings(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)live.com" target="_blank">graceannasings(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)live.com and here:https://www.facebook.com/graceannasings/
Over the last year, Grace has brightened our days and lifted our spirits with several videos. Her laughter warms our hearts and brings a smile to your face even on the worse of days.
Grace is now 4 years old, she knows she is different from others. Surgeries are not fun, physical therapy is not always fun, she struggles with simple things we all take for granted. Nevertheless, she never gives up. She believes in herself. She’s confident and full of love. Grace is just a lovely little human being and all around beautiful girl.
I can go on and on about how wonderful Grace Anna is, but in this article, I want to honor her mother, Mrs. Angie Rogers. Grace is the spunky, happy, delightful, angel child because of all the love her parents have given her. The countless hours Angie spent educating Grace, praying with and for her, the encouragement and praise… all of those things made Grace who she is today.
To the R.I.S.E. & STAND team, Grace and Mrs. Rodgers are some of the top most inspirational and empowering people on the planet. We share their story with people we meet who need some motivation in their life. Most of you know that one of the main things R.I.S.E. and Stand does is mentor young adults and teens. Several times a week we hear from these young people that they feel like their life is meaningless. They are tired of the struggle and ready to give up. We have found that by sharing Grace’s story with them they realized their life is not as bad as they thought. The teens realize their life does have a meaning and they can use the bad things that happened in their life to help someone else.