GALION — Payton Cornell was a normal baby until she was 14-months-old. That’s when she suffered a bout with pneumonia.
“We woke up one morning, and she was limp,” said April Stahl, Payton’s mother. “She couldn’t walk or crawl. We immediately took her to the doctor.”
April said after a battery of tests, Payton was diagnosed with Lee’s Syndrome, a genetic, severe neurological disorder that usually becomes apparent in the first year of life.
“She cannot swallow so she is fed through a G-Tube and needs 24-hour care. We were told she would not make it past a year and a half, but we won’t give up,” said April.
Payton turned 4-years-old last month.
April said will always be little. She currently weighs in at 23 pounds.
“Her biggest risk is getting sick, especially with a respiratory illness, so we hibernate in the winter and I keep her away from her siblings when they are sick,” said April.
Payton has five siblings that include two step brothers, a half-sister and a half-brother.
“Payton lights up the room with her smile, and she is always smiling.” April said as her little girl smiled up at her. “She is very smart and such an inspiration. If you’re feeling down, she will lift you up.”
April said Payton does not attend school because of the risk of illness.
“We are home, 24 hours a day, seven days per week. I only trust a few people to sit with her, when I have to pay bills and go to the grocery store. And even then I still call to check on her several times,” April said.
Her mother-in-law, Susan Carver, said Payton is a miracle.
“We are so blessed that she is here with us and doing well,” said Carver.
April said therapists and nurses come to her South Washington Street home several times each week to work with Payton.
“She has both occupational and physical therapy. I also work with her several times each day because she needs stretched out so her muscles do not draw up,” April said.
April said Payton also goes to Akron Children’s Hospital for doctor appointments.
“The staff there has been wonderful,” April said.
April became a mother when she was still a teenager.
“I was 16-year-old when I had my daughter, Destiny Stahl,” said April.
April is also mom to 8-year-old Lance, 6-year-old Landyn Hathaway and 1-year-old Kayson Hathaway.
“The whole family helps with Payton. We all love her so much and she adores her siblings,” said April.
April said she wants to inspire other young mothers to be the best mothers they can be.
“No matter what happens in life, your kids have to come first,” she said. “Payton is an inspiration, and I will never give up fighting for her life.”
Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras