When Anthony Katz was born, his doctors predicted he would not survive past a year. But this weekend Anthony’s parents got to celebrate a milestone they never thought would come: Anthony’s 13th birthday.
Anthony was born with myotubular myopathy, a rare genetic disorder that affects skeletal muscle tissue, according to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The disease has left Anthony so weak he cannot stand or swallow food. Anthony’s mother Tina Katz says that Anthony’s muscles are weak but have not continued to deteriorate.
After surviving infancy, Anthony has thrived as he’s gotten older.
On Saturday, to celebrate the newly-minted teenager, approximately 350 people came to the Katz’s house for the “Monsters University” themed-birthday party.
“It’s such an amazing gift we’ve been given,” Tina Katz told ABC News. “I can’t even tell you, the way he thrives and the way he’s good.”
Not only were plenty of Anthony’s classmates in attendance, but also the local fire truck and a live band were there as well. Katz said Anthony was the center of attention and even sang a few songs, such as “Moves Like Jagger,” for the audience.
Katz said in spite of the medical hurdles, Anthony is like most other kids, with friends who come over for sleepovers and to do homework.
“I think a lot of times people mistake children with special needs [because] they may look different on the outside,” Katz said. “He is such a normal child. He goes to school every day. He lives life every day [even though] he can’t get up and go like some other children.”
Katz said now that Anthony’s a teenager he’s even started showing a little more attitude. During an interview with the local paper, Katz said she tried to correct her son, but Anthony calmly told her, “Mom this is my interview,” and kept talking.
Katz said she still is frustrated by people who see Anthony and immediately tell her they feel sorry for her.
“I can’t express it enough that when you see somebody for special needs don’t feel sorry for them, feel happy because they feel so alive,” Katz said.