GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – An Upstate family is raising awareness on the anniversary of a terrible tragedy.
ON February 23, 2015, 18-month-old, Egypt Morales, was beat into a coma by her father at his Laurens home.
Thursday, Egypt’s family, along the the Freedom Fighters activist group, gathered on Anderson Road in Greenville to raise awareness for Shaken Baby Syndrome.
“No child deserves to go through what Egypt is going through,” said Kaya Thomas, Egypt’s mother.
Joseph Morales is serving an 18-year-sentence after pleading guilty in court back in June.
He will have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence.
Thomas said the incident happened during one of Egypt’s bi-monthly visits with Morales.
“The doctor put me in a small room and said she was going to die in 24 hours, and if she didn’t die, she’d be like a vegetable,” Thomas said.
They say Egypt is a survivor, even though it hasn’t been easy.
“She has Cerebral Palsy,” Thomas said. “She can’t walk. She can’t talk. She can’t swallow her own saliva. She can’t move her hands. She has a lot of seizures, about 10 to 15 seizures a day, and she has a feeding tube.”
Thomas spent Thursday afternoon passing out flyers and talking to people about Shaken Baby Syndrome. The Center for Disease Control says it affects between 1000 and 1500 babies nationwide every year.
“We’ve all been in that situation where the baby is screaming and crying, screaming and crying, and you don’t know what to do, how to react, or what’s wrong with the baby,” said Traci Fant, with Freedom Fighters.
She advises people to just walk away.
“Count to 10, go back and revisit the situation,” Fant said. “Babies can’t tell you what’s wrong with them, but it’s up to us as parents to protect them.”
Because Shaken Baby Syndrome will change a baby’s life forever.
“His 18 years in prison is nothing compared to the imprisonment Egypt is facing now for the rest of her life,” Fant said. “She’ll never be normal.”
Thomas is currently fighting to gain back custody of Egypt. She says she’s done all of the training and certifications necessary to properly care for Egypt.
The Department of Social Services said they could not “provide specific information regarding child protective services reports and/or investigations” because of confidentiality laws.