LEBANON, Ohio - A wheelchair-accessible van will not extend the lives of Layla and Angel Martin of Lebanon. The best their parents can expect is that the prize in an Internet contest will ease the difficult days ahead for the little girls.
Layla is 3, Angel is 2. By a brutal roll of the genetic dice, they suffer from an exceptionally rare neurological disorder, and they probably will not see five candles on a birthday cake. Even crueler is the possibility that their baby brother also has the disease.
“Sometimes,” says the children’s mother, Christina Martin, “I ask myself, ‘Why would God give me these children if He is only going to take them away from me?’ It’s a hard thing to understand.”
Through friends, the Martins learned of an Internet contest for “local heroes” run by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, a nonprofit group that donates U.S.-built wheelchair-accessible vans as prizes.
The contest is in its third year. Voting on the website began March 11 and ends May 9. The top 10 percent of vote-getters then go before a panel that will choose four winners, to be announced in late May.
Become a WCPO Insider to learn more about infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy, a disease so unusual that Layla and Angel apparently are the only Ohioans with the condition.