There are many mothers who have suffered through the death of one child.
There are few who have suffered through the death of four.
That is Dolores Pratt Chandler’s story. The Hill District native and Fifth Avenue High School graduate recently penned a book, “Grain of Hope, A Mother’s Memoir,” which details the traumatizing events and then how to stand tall through the pain.
“I’ve experienced the death of four sons. I use my crisis because I don’t think you can find too many crises worse than having a child die,” Chandler said. “There are a lot of mothers suffering in silence—after it leaves the news and after all the hoopla is over, the mother is left to suffer in silence.”
Chandler’s sons were diagnosed with Conradi-Hunnerman syndrome. The National Organization for Rare Disorders defines it as a rare genetic disorder characterized by skeletal malformations, skin abnormalities and cataracts. It is caused by an X-linked dominant trait that occurs almost exclusively in girls; boys born with the syndrome usually do not survive. An estimated one in 400,000 newborns is born with the disorder. Symptoms and severity can vary among individuals, but cataracts, spinal curvature, sparse or coarse scalp hair and scaling of the skin are common.
Chandler’s oldest son, Glenn, was 22 months old when he died. Her second son, Tyrone, lived to the age of 22. Patrick died a few hours after birth. And Chandler’s fourth son died five months into her pregnancy. She calls him, “Baby Boy” Williams.