Microcephaly is an abnormal smallness of the head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development and, especially recently, the Zika virus. According to the CDC, microcephaly affects anywhere from two to 12 babies out of every 10,000 live births.
To help raise awareness of microcephaly, there was a movement of #microselfies, selfies taken and posted on social media. Teddy Gentry, a member of the Hall of Fame country music band Alabama, chipped in to help.
But first, you have to understand what this movement was up against.
Riley Lee is a young woman whose daughter has microcephaly. People on the internet have been, shockingly, bullies to her and her daughter because of her daughter’s microcephaly. These people on the internet (i.e. trolls) have said that Riley’s daughter is a “monster” and that she has a “shrunken head.” That’s just heartbreaking.
However, since 2008, microcephaly has had its own awareness day and has claimed yellow as its official color. Texas was the first state to make Microcephaly Day official. In light of this, the microcephaly community wears yellow and posts a #microselfies to social media.
That’s where Teddy Gentry comes in.
Riley’s mother was going through treatment for a rare type of cancer. Despite this, she was determined to raise awareness for her granddaughter. Gentry, too, wanted to help this cause. The two of them took a selfie together (they were friends) to help raise awareness of microcephaly.
“That selfie was amazing,” Riley said. “And it was one of [my mom’s] favorite photos despite her not having her beautiful long blonde hair.”
With the number of Alabama fans and the number of people that love Gentry, you can only imagine how many folks saw this photo. Just think of all the people who, because of this photo, may have become more educated about microcephaly.
“You never know how a simple post or photo can impact the world,” Riley continued. “So whatever diagnosis or diagnoses you are raising awareness for, keep going! You can change the world. I know my mom did, and I’m so thankful.”
Here’s to Riley, her daughter, and Mr. Teddy Gentry for doing what’s right and standing with those who need more acknowledgment, awareness, and support.