June 25, 2013
Life hasn't always been easy for 16-year-old Chris Roberts, but you wouldn't always know it.
"It's going to be OK," he said.
Since birth, Chris has battled Pfeiffer syndrome, a disorder where bones in his head, hands and feet grow more quickly compared to the rest of his body. He's had about 30 surgeries in his life and most recently stayed at a Richmond hospital for a bout with seizures during his 16th birthday earlier this month.
"I knew we were going to be in the hospital, so I got one of my friends from our church to come stay at the hospital with him while I went and got his birthday presents," Chris' dad, Tim Roberts, said.
When Tim Roberts returned to the car parked in the hospital's garage, he noticed a window was smashed in.
"Someone had broken into our car and apparently took what was going to be my birthday presents," Chris said.
Chris' presents, his laptop and some of his clothes were all stolen during his hospital stay. The thief also took Tim Roberts' wallet and money that was supposed to pay some bills.
During this struggle, Tim Roberts has put his own medical issues on the back burner to take care of his son. Roberts, a single dad, has had a handful of strokes over the past few months.
"All of our money's been stolen, and I don't know what we're going to do," Tim Roberts said. "I don't care about me. If someone wanted to help him, I'd be grateful for that because I don't need anything except for him to be happy."
The family, who currently lives in the Richmond area, is in Charlottesville so Chris can receive his next surgery at the University of Virginia Medical Center. The upcoming operation will be one of the more serious ones that he's had.
"It's going to be a long recovery, but we're just hoping and praying to God that God will give us the opportunity to have the recovery," Tim Roberts said.
A thief and a surgery, though, can't ruin the spirits of Chris, who has a message for anyone facing adversity.
"Just still try and smile," he said. "You will get through it one day."
Anyone who would like to help the Roberts family can give through Charlottesville's Ronald McDonald House, or through a Bank of America account (4350 3103 8771) set up to receive donations.