Mom fights back after photo of terminally ill son is turned into a viral meme

RANBURNE, AL (WIAT) — A photo of a little boy was turned into a cruel internet meme, but when his mother found out about it, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

Grayson Smith’s parents can come up with a lot of different ways to describe their son.

“He’s his own little boss,” said Kendyl Smith, Grayson’s father. “He’s energetic, he’s outgoing, he’s funny.”

“He’s just your average three-and-a-half year-old, that just wants to play and have friends,” said Grayson’s mother, Jennifer Smith. “He’s just as loveable and normal and kind as any other three-year-old.”

Grayson loves Adele and Alabama football.

He’s also a medical miracle.

He was born with 22 different medical anomalies.

“Hydrocephalus is the main one,” Jennifer Smith explained. “It’s water on the brain.”

Smith said she and her husband were told Grayson was blind, and that he would likely not live more than two weeks.

“They wanted us to bring him home, do nothing and let him die,” Smith said.

Instead, the Grayson defied the odds. He’ll turn four years old in February, and he loves playing with his iPad.

In November, someone decided to describe Grayson in a much less favorable way.

A photo was taken from the “Grayson’s Story” Facebook page and turned into a viral internet meme. A caption was written over it which read: “That face you make when your parents are actually cousins.”

“How could someone be so cruel? He’s an innocent child,” Smith said.  “To have someone turn him into this laughing mockery joke — it was mindblowing.”

Just as the Smiths wouldn’t accept when doctors told them their son would die as an infant, they’re not accepting this, either.

“We’re gonna fight back, and we’re gonna make it public about what happened,” Smith said.

Since she’s started speaking publicly about the meme and her son’s story, Smith, and her family have been overwhelmed with positive responses.

“It was heartwarming to hear them say, ‘I was one of those people who laughed, and I apologize now that I read (Grayson’s) story,’” Smith said.

Smith said she’s also been contacted by other parents of disabled children, looking for advice on battling tough medical obstacles.

“Don’t give up,” Smith says is her message to other parents. “Keep going because you’ll eventually get there.”

Grayson is still considered terminally ill. He’s undergone many surgeries, remains on several medications and makes regular trips to several different specialists in Birmingham.

His family has started a fundraising page to help with the expenses. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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