The blond-haired, blue-eyed, 3-year-old looks like every other child playing with her doll in the yard, but has a rare condition that affects her joints and bones.
Layel Rodgers was born with arthrogryposis, a “non-progressive muscle disorder causing stiff joints and abnormal development of muscles.”
Layel is affected in the upper and lower extremities.
While many people may have not heard of the condition, it affects one in 3,000 babies and has become Reshay’s and Layel’s world.
National AMC (arthrogryposis multiplex congenita) Day is June 30, and Reshay, Layel, family and friends, along with people from around the world, will celebrate the observance by wearing blue shirts.
“Everybody wears blue and gives a big high five to everyone that has AMC,” Reshay said.
Many people with AMC want to figure out a way to do things independently just like everyone else.
“This is a day we can recognize all the hard work (AMC people do),” Reshay said.
Having a special day to recognize AMC is important but not enough for Reshay.
She has done hours of research on the condition, and is determined to continue to learn ways to improve Layel’s life.
The first week of July, Reshay, along with Layel and family friend Traci Tomlin, will travel to Las Vegas for the eighth annual AMCSI Conference.
“The conference itself gives the children and parents an opportunity to be around people just like them,” Reshay said.
Reshay is excited about the opportunities she will have as a parent to learn things from other parents that could potentially help her daughter.
She said the conference will be attended by about 200 people and will include children and adults with AMC, along with parents and other family members.
Reshay hopes Layel will have as normal a life as possible.
Layel has Amyoplasia, the most common type of arthrogryposis.
At age three, Layel has endured two major surgeries, including one that left steel plates in her hips.
She has made numerous trips to the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Philadelphia and endures more on a weekly basis than most people endure in a lifetime.
She has made great strides in her progress since she was born and is now able to stand in her walker and take steps. She has adapted with hand movements so that she can feed herself, play with toys and work an iPad.
Next year, Reshay will also start her in school. Her condition does not affect her mental capacity, and she is smart for her age. She has a full range of vocabulary words and isn’t shy about telling you what she wants.
Her mom has a strong feeling her condition won’t slow her down. “She is going to be something big one day,” Reshay said.