Toddler with Rare Disorder Gains Social Media Attention

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. afflict / əˈflɪkt / (v) – to cause pain

    The old woman is afflicted with arthritis.

  2. vivacious / vəˈveɪʃəs / (adj) – cheerful and energetic

    People like to be around Megan because she is very positive and vivacious.

  3. fragile / ˈfræʤəl / (adj) – easily broken or destroyed

    Be careful of the vase because it is very fragile.

  4. warm (someone’s) heart / woɚm hɑɚt / (idiom) – to cause someone to be happy

    It warms my heart to see my pets after a long day at work.

  5. gear (someone) up / giɚ ʌp / (idiom) – to prepare someone for something

    The manager is gearing the employee up for promotion.


Read the text below.

A toddler afflicted with a rare bone disorder gained popularity on social media because of her vivacious personality.

Three-year-old Cyn’Niah Burton was born with osteogenesis imperfecta [os-tee-uhJENuh-sis im-per-FEK-tuh] (OI) type 3, a condition that causes bones to become fragile. Because of the disorder, Cyn’Niah’s bones fracture easily when she tries to move on her own.

Despite the difficulties that she goes through, Cyn’Niah still manages to do the things she enjoys, such as singing, dancing, and making silly faces. Her mother, Destini Jackson, took videos of her doing those things and shared the clips on social media. The videos warmed people’s hearts and received thousands of views and comments.

In an interview with the TV show Good Morning America, Jackson described her child as funny, sweet, and inspiring. She said that if Cyn’Niah continues to show charisma, the toddler would surpass people’s expectations.

Amidst the popularity of the videos, Jackson was gearing Cyn’Niah up for the toddler’s first surgery. This procedure is expected to strengthen Cyn’Niah’s leg. To cover some of the costs of the procedure, Jackson asked Cyn’Niah’s online fans for support and received $2,060.

Patients like Cyn’Niah are whom the Clements family from Bristol, England, wants to help. Sarah and Matt Clements found out that their daughter, Evie, has OI after breaking her bones while cuddling. Thankfully, the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children’s OI team was able to treat Evie’s fractures and taught her parents how to handle her condition.

As a way to thank the hospital, the couple joined a marathon that raised funds for people with the condition.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think it was a right move for Cyn’Niah’s mother to post videos of her child on social media? Why or why not?
• Why do you think Cyn’Niah’s videos gained popularity on social media?

Discussion B

• Why is it important to raise awareness of rare conditions?
• How can more people be aware of rare conditions like osteogenesis imperfecta? Discuss.