In 2012, Patricia and Dale Williams experienced the joy of welcoming a precious addition to their family. Baby Redd brought them immense happiness, yet they quickly noticed a striking detail: his hair was pure snow-white.
Around Redd's second month, they observed another peculiar trait—his eyes frequently moved in different directions. Delving into online research, they discovered that these symptoms could indicate a possibility of albinism.
Upon arranging several appointments, they received confirmation that their assessment was accurate: Redd had been diagnosed with Oculocutaneous Albinism Type One (OCA1), a rare condition.
The staff members were captivated by his exquisite appearance, anticipating that his hair might darken over time. Yet, to their amazement, he retained his distinctive features in light of the diagnosis.
During their kindergarten and elementary school years, both Redd and his elder brother faced bullying due to their albinism. Fortunately, they had Gage, their older sibling, who stood up for them.
Instead of succumbing to the torment, the family united to promote albinism awareness, utilizing social media as a platform.
As time went on, Redd underwent eye surgery and attended a specialized private school catering to children with visual impairments.
Patricia held hope that her son's distinctive traits were temporary, but the realization that it was a lifelong condition only hit her when her second son arrived with the same condition.
Rockwell, born in February 2018, shared the same condition as his older sibling. Tragically, social media users misappropriated photos of the newborn, turning them into hurtful memes.
Redd endured bullying at school due to his unique appearance; thus, Gage, his older brother, took on the role of his protector. The family was well-prepared for Rockwell's albinism from birth. However, they never anticipated that images of their young son would be turned into memes, causing unexpected distress.
Initially, Dale and Patricia attempted to have everyone who shared the image take it down. However, they soon came to the realization that this was an impossible task, leading them to opt for ignoring the entire situation.
In a proactive move to prevent bullying of children who stood out due to their differences, they chose to champion the cause of raising awareness about these conditions. Patricia felt uneasy when experts confirmed Redd's albinism. She worried about how their child would be treated in life because of these differences and how it might reshape their family dynamics, considering the challenges of a child susceptible to sunburn and future blindness.
Patricia highlighted the significance of Rockwell's conspicuous appearance, noting, "It's very unusual to see a baby with white hair, and Rockwell's hair sticks straight up, so it's very noticeable."
As pictures of her son became a viral meme, she garnered a substantial following. The inquiries she received regarding her son's appearance revealed a lack of awareness about albinism among many people.
Recognizing that many people formed their perceptions of albinism from inaccurate portrayals in obscure films, she saw a unique opportunity to enhance awareness of this condition.
After undergoing eye surgery to address his strabismus, Redd transitioned from a special school for the visually impaired to a public school, a choice that proved beneficial for him.
The family decided against having Redd wear an eye patch, concerned it might make him stand out more and draw undue attention. Over time, his friends began to notice his differences less as he grew older.
Redd enjoyed the outdoors like any other child, requiring only a hat, dark shades, and sunscreen. He was a typical kid, and his younger brother, Rockwell, also thrived.
A video clip posted by Patricia on April 28, 2023, showed Rockwell during his school's "Western Day," where he received an outpouring of love and support on social media. He was described as "cute" and "adorable."
Patricia addressed a common misconception, explaining that people with albinism don't typically have red eyes. Instead, due to the absence of pigmentation, they often have light blue eyes.
Currently, the boys are thriving and thoroughly enjoying life!