Colton was born with Moebius syndrome, a rare condition that causes weak or paralyzed facial muscles. Colton was unable to smile, frown, lift his eyes, or show any expression. “From the time he was born until he was 11 months old, we didn’t even know if he was in there,” recalled Samantha Southern, Colton's mother.
Around his first birthday, Samantha took Colton to see Jeffrey Marcus, MD, a Duke pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Dr. Marcus followed Colton’s progress for years until the boy was old enough to benefit from surgery.
“He wanted to be like his brothers,” Samantha said. “He would say, ‘Why can’t I smile?’”