They didn't win the Internet contest for the wheelchair-accessible van. Didn't even make the cut for the semifinals. They bump along financially--no money in the bank--with two young daughters in the grip of a rare genetic disease with the grimmest prognosis. Even the Make-A-Wish trip last month was a trial. The whole way back from Florida, Layla screamed.
"Some days, it's just about unbearable. But we just have to do it," said Christina Martin, sitting with her husband Bradley Martin and their family in a tiny duplex on a cul-de-sac just off State Route 48 in Lebanon.
Bradley echoed his wife.
"Like she said, we just do it. You can't dodge all the hard stuff in your life."
Christina and Bradley Martin were high school sweethearts who parted, married other people, had a daughter each then reunited and married. They had Layla in 2011, daughter Angel in 2012, son Bradley Jr. in October.
Not long after her first birthday, Layla's progress stopped and went into reverse. She stopped walking, and her feet turned in. She stopped talking. Her eyes crossed. She howled through nights of pain. Doctors said Layla's brain was shrinking, but they didn't know the reasons.
WCPO Insiders can read more about Layla's prognosis and how the family is working to cope and keep their children's lives as comfortable as possible.