Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 17, 2004

Infant smiles with her eyes, despite paralysis

By Lynda Jensen


When little Faith Dressel of Winsted smiles, she can’t use her mouth muscles, so instead she uses her eyes.

Dressel is battling a number of birth defects at the age of three months. She is the daughter of Gary and Allyson Dressel.

Faith has Moebius Syndrome, a rare nerve disorder that causes facial paralysis.

This means she can’t wrinkle her nose, move her eyes side to side or blink as often as other people do, said her mother, Allyson.

Moebius Syndrome is not genetic and the fact that Faith has it is considered a fluke, commented her mother Allyson. It will be a malady that follows Faith through her lifetime.

Other maladies that Faith has been diagnosed with include a small lower jaw, partial cleft palate, and a tendency for her tongue to “ball up” in the back of her mouth. These defects are known collectively as Pierre Robin Sequence, which are also not genetic. She also has club feet.

“The only thing we knew about was the club feet,” Allyson said about the time before Faith’s birth.

“It’s been kind of crazy,” she commented.

The little girl spent the first two months of life at Children’s Hospital, coming home a month ago.

Faith has a small cylinder attached to her throat which allows her to breathe, called a tracheotomy, Allyson said.

This is because Faith has a tendency to block her own airway with her tongue when she breathes through her mouth, Allyson explained.

Therefore, Faith breathes through the apparatus attached to her neck, she said. A filter is not necessary, since Faith breathes normal air.

Faith’s favorite thing to do is suck on her fingers, which is a good sign, Allyson noted; babies with Moebius Syndrome usually have trouble doing this. “It’s a major accomplishment,” she said.

Luckily, the Dressels have a large church family to depend on; they attend St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Waverly.

Gary Dressel is a member of the Waverly Knights of Columbus.

Benefit planned

There is a dinner and silent auction benefit scheduled Sunday, May 23 from 3 to 7 p.m at the Blue Note in Winsted for Faith Dressel to help cover medical costs.

The funds are specifically targeted toward an in-home nurse, since insurance will run out for this service soon.

There are more than 70 items up for sale at the auction, including a wedding cake for 200, a Jack Russell terrier dog, a silver watch, paintings, Nintendo Game Cube, and many other items.

Dinner tickets may be ordered by calling Ken Borrell at (763) 658-4611 or Larry Mader at (320) 286-5620. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

Those who wish to contribute directly may send donations to Community Bank of Winsted, PO Box 130, Winsted, MN 55395

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