WHITESBORO, TX - One in every 750 babies born in the U.S. has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and today people across the country are raising awareness about FAS. One local family tells their story of raising a child with FAS and their struggle to get the word out about this preventable condition.
On March 19, 2008, Tara and Joey Crawley adopted their two sons, Wyatt and younger brother Riley. What the Crawley's didn't know is that Wyatt, five, has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
"We started seeing behaviors and mood swings, he was not progressing as he should be on a cognitive level,” said Tara Crawley.
Doctors say it's one of the leading causes of mental retardation in America and throughout the world, but they also say it doesn’t have to be.
"Just knowing that it was preventable to my son and someone chose to do that and so now my son has fetal alcohol, it's just heart breaking,” said Mrs. Crawley.
"Fetal alcohol syndrome is one of the most preventable causes of mental retardation that we know about and that's what makes it so tragic and yet we've had a hard time preventing it entirely,” said Dr. Andrew Broselow, MD, and OB GYN at Texoma Medical Center.
But Dr. Broselow and the Crawleys both believe the best way to prevent FAS is to get the word out and raise awareness of how dangerous drinking while pregnant really is.
And that is what today was all about.
"Just to have one day, it's great, you know church bells ring at 9:09 cause you're pregnant for 9 months so that symbolizes it,” said Mrs. Crawley.
And while Mrs. Crawley says there aren't any support groups yet here in Texoma for families with FAS children, the Crawleys say they count on friends, family and the volunteer fire station in Whitesboro where Joey Crawley works.
"It makes you feel great, it's like having another family when you're up here at the fire station, it's a second home,” said Joey Crawley.
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the group - Fetal Alcohol Specturm Disorders. And all across the nation people are taking a moment today to think about the only birth defect that is 100% preventable, in hopes of putting a stop to this condition.