Trisomy 18 Awareness Day: Little Girl, Enormous Impact!

Melody, full Trisomy 18, turned 11 years old in February! She ushered in her birthday with some of her family and friends. 

This is one of Melody’s good friends who helped celebrate her 11th birthday.

Tomorrow is Trisomy 18 Awareness Day (3/18). Melody is definitely, as her shirt expresses, a Trisomy 18 Rule Breaker! In honor of Melody and her Trisomy 18 friends, I want to share a small glimpse of how Melody’s life has remarkable value, meaning, and purpose. I could fill a book with countless stories of this little girl’s impact on others.

Melody is a vessel by whom God shares His love with others. For Melody, no words are necessary. A friend who was going through an extremely difficult time once shared: “When Melody hugged me, I experienced a tangible touch of God’s love for me through her, and it brought me to tears.”

Another friend shared with me recently, “Melody inspires me every day of my life.”

One time a man came to our home for dinner, and before he left he got down on Melody’s mats. He talked to her for a little bit and then said good-bye. He had tears in his eyes. He got up and walked out without saying anything because he was too choked up to speak. He was so touched by her life.

Melody has an extraordinary way of endearing herself to all of her practitioners who see her regularly. It never ceases to amaze me, and I honestly have no explanation for it.

Melody’s outstanding chiropractor, Dr. Virgil, is an expert in scoliosis. We are thankful for his understanding and skill in this arena. He wrote: Melody’s presence in our office is nothing short of a daily miracle that touches each of our hearts profoundly. Her radiant blue eyes light up with such an infectious joy that it’s impossible not to smile back, transforming the atmosphere of the entire office. She wheels herself around the office, and employees and patients love seeing her smile and curiosity. This speaks volumes to the love and light she brings into the lives of those she meets. On a personal note, while my initial intention was to provide her with care and support, it has evolved into something much more enriching. I love the reward of giving her a hug and receiving a genuinely joyful smile, which has become the best return of working with her. Melody’s impact on us is profound, reminding us daily of the beauty and resilience of family and support of those around us.

Melody’s extraordinary myofacial practitioner wrote: As a friend and massage therapist to Melody, I have grown so close to her. Even though she doesn’t speak verbally, she expresses her words with her hands, facial expressions, and beautiful smile. Melody is a true child of God, and if you’ve ever asked if He still does miracles, watch the room light up when she smiles. No matter what’s happening in our nation, Melody shows all of us what’s important, trust and faith.

Melody loves when Fred comes to see her! On the days he is coming over, we let her know that as soon as she wakes up. She sits up in bed right away with a huge smile on her face! We are devastated he is moving to another state.😢

This remarkable young lady has helped us with Melody for the last 5 months. We are deeply saddened that she is moving also, but we sure have been blessed by her! She shared, “I have been blessed to be Melody’s friend for several months now. I was supposed to help her, teach her, but it has truly been the opposite. I wish I could express how much I have felt God’s love through this little one. Thank you Melody for every smile; each one means so much to me.”

Melody’s story has touched lives far and wide. Her most recent impact has been in the county jail. My daughter Andrea and I were able to share with 16 ladies there recently. The ladies were very distracted when a teaching video was being played right before we spoke. When Andrea got up to share about life purpose from II Peter 1:5-7, she started by putting up a picture of Melody as a newborn. She weaved Melody’s story throughout her talk. As soon as the first picture went up, all distractions ceased, and they were captivated by what Andrea had to share. You could hear a pin drop. They were so touched by Melody’s story that many were in tears. I was then able to share about meditating on Scripture. Once again stories about Melody were weaved throughout. Apparently both talks had a significant impact on the lives of these women. Melody’s story was such a significant part of it all. The ladies wanted us to come back for their “graduation” from the class and bring Melody. I asked if children were allowed in the jail. They did not know, but they sure wanted me to try!

Some of my favorite feedback about Melody is when parents who receive a positive screening test for Trisomy 18 are inspired by Melody and choose to love and cherish their babies. Some of these little one are subsequently born with Trisomy 18…and others are born with no Trisomy 18.

A medical student in reference to Melody’s blog wrote: As a medical student this is incredible to read. I remember learning about trisomy 18 for the first time in my genetics class last year. I was taught that it is a condition that is incompatible with life and all babies diagnosed with it die. I first read about Melody’s story in the book Miracles We Have Seen and googled this blog because I was curious about the further developments in her story, thinking perhaps she had survived for a year or so. You can imagine my shock seeing a whole website dedicated to a thriving little girl nine years later! I think as healthcare workers when we hear the words “incompatible with life” or “genetically terminal” we inwardly wave the white flag and give up on a patient, but reading about how you advocated for your daughter to continue her ICU care, and today she’s still alive and…well, I definitely wish we learned about cases like Melody’s to balance the fatalism we feel when faced with genetic disorders. I’m going to share this website with my genetics professor; I think he would definitely be amazed at Melody’s story. God bless!

She later shared: I think it’s wonderful that you’ve made a blog championing Melody; too often it seems that society only values people if they’re physically perfect and healthy, and refuses to see the intrinsic dignity and beauty in every human life.  May God bless you and your family, and thank you so much for sharing Melody and her story with the world.  

I love that comment! In God’s economy, He is not confined to only working through the “physically perfect and healthy.” In fact, often in our weaknesses, His work is all the more profound.

Melody is such a sweet, endearing, lovable little girl. Her life is not defined by her Trisomy 18 limitations, but rather by the fingerprint of God on her life. Thank you for sharing in the joy of her journey.

Stay tuned for a follow-up post on the impact Melody has had on the medical community.

II Corinthians 12:8a “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 

Comments 20

  1. As always I love getting updates on Melody’s life adventure. I especially loved this update that a medical student read Melody’s story from the Miracles we have seen book. How incredibly gratifying. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Oh I love your story and update on my little neighbor! Will be happy for warm weather so I can see her driving her pink car up the road!

  3. Barbara and I continue to be deeply moved and rejoice to watch God using Melody and the entire family to glorify God and encourage people without a doubt internationally, to love, patiently invest their time, love and loving care in these God’s special gifts to a world in desperate need. Melody is definitely a divinely chosen child sent by God, entrusted to a godly family as a servant of the Lord. One day we will see her totally freed to serve the King of Kings in all the glory of His perfect creation! We are privileged to know this family and know Melody before she is revealed by Her Creator as HIS CHILD CREATED IN HIS IMAGE! With hearts overflowing with love and gratitude for the privilege of knowing all of you, Barb & Ken Brisco

  4. Melody is such a blessing to all of us! I miss her a lot and am very thankful for these website updates so we can see pictures and keep cheering her on. Love getting to see her light filled, beautiful blue eyes shining so brightly in that oh so cute and just slightly mischievous grin that still makes me smile. Oh how I have missed her morning songs and how she’d giggle and melt into my arms in the most wonderful hugs, what a joy she is! Sweet precious girl, she really lit up my days. How grateful I am I got to meet her and get to know and work with her, and you, and your inspiring family, too. I feel so blessed by God to have the gift of knowing you all! THANK YOU for being in our lives, dear, sweet little Melody, we love you so very much!

  5. Dear Melody,
    It’s amazing how big you are now! I wish you still lived close so I could bring my twins to see you! You would love them and they would love you (and all your wheels). I think of you every February and know that you are 6 months older than my Jeremiah. It’s hard to believe it’s been 11 years since you were born. So many ups and downs and yet your sweet melody rings true. Happy belated birthday and happy 3.18 day. You are very loved and cherished, more than you can imagine.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing about Melody‘s life. Though I don’t get to be with her as those who live nearby, I’m so touched in my heart reading about how God is using her. There is a huge hug wrapped up in this message to her, and to each one of you and her family!! God is glorified!

  7. I have prayed, dear Melody, that God would be glorified in your life every day He grants you. It is so clear that He is using you for His glory. It is humbling and inspiring to see how His strength is made perfect in weakness. What you may lack in physical skills, God has more than compensated for in spiritual strength! And, if you didn’t realize it, you have an amazing family with a very big God in charge! I love you, Melody!

  8. Thank you for sharing Melody and her story here. What a change she has made with your determination and HERS, of course. In the early days, we would never have dreamed she would come this far. She was blessed with an incredible family with everyone’s determination to make things happen!

    Thank you for sharing her progress. I hope that I get to see her in person sometime soon…it has been a long time since her birthday party here in Denver when she drove her pink car…I have the photos and look at them often. I want to see her in her new one! God has blessed her with a great family, and you, with an angel.

  9. I love this precious little girl and her family! Melody would not be the loving little girl
    she is without the love and commitment of her family to her care, and their trust in the God who created her to bring glory to Him! Amazing love and grace!

  10. Reading this made my day!!! Words cannot express how touched and honored I feel that you would include my quote. I first came upon this blog I think nearly two years ago when I was in the early days of med school and in a somewhat depressed state of my life.

    I had found Melody’s story in a book called Miracles We Have Seen, and even as I was amazed by the parents who advocated so diligently for their daughter, I remember thinking that it was likely the infant had not survived. Coming across Melody’s blog and finding that she wasn’t only living, but also thriving, was the hope I needed. “My grace is sufficient for you for My power is made perfect in weakness” is the most beautiful way to express this. It’s often by the smallest and most delicate of God’s creatures that we see and feel His glory and loving mercy.

    Thank you so much, coming across Melody’s story is one of the best things I’ve ever done.

    God bless,

  11. Dear Melody & family
    Im so happy to get an email of her continued success in life
    She is such a happy child
    Love you all
    Linda Dorough

  12. Thank you so much for always including the Melody’s story with Xavier and I. We enjoy seeing how she’s doing. She is so precious and a pure delight. I really hope she can go to the prison ministry with you. That is wonderful that you ministering there.
    Im so happy that you have such beautiful people in your lives that get to be blessed by Melody. God is sooo good and always Amazing!!
    God bless.! ❤️

  13. Incredible testimony of LOVE! Melody only knows love from her family and all who meet her. She radiates all the love her family gives and anyone who comes in contact with her. What an awesome LOVE STORY! We are so privileged to be a part of her family! We love you dear sweet Melody!! Happy 11th Birthday!!

  14. What joy it was to read Melody’s update. It is so evident to see how the fingerprints of God are all over her life!
    May He continue to use your little miracle to change lives for eternity. Happy 11th birthday from our family!

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