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From left, Madison, Mia, Michelle, Mason and Mike Garza sit in front of sign celebrating Lissencephaly Awareness Day which takes place Sept. 8. The family from Gregory has been through tough times, but Michelle said their love for Mason has never wavered. He will turn 1 on Oct. 13.

GREGORY – When Michelle Garza spoke at a recent Portland City Council meeting about lissencephaly, it was the first time many had heard of the brain disorder. 

Lissencephaly means “smooth brain” and is a rare brain disorder where the whole or parts of the surface of the brain appear smooth. Medical professionals say it isn’t inherited through the parents’ genes.

“I had perfect pregnancy with no issues,” Garza said. “But when my son (Mason) was born he was sent directly to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) because he was having trouble breathing on his own.”

Once there, doctors discovered that Mason had a soft cleft palate. He was also having what Garza refers to as “blue episodes” where he would turn blue from lack of oxygen.

So at just 2 days old, Mason was headed with Garza to Driscoll Children’s Hospital. 

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