A woman named Violet wasn't supposed to still have her older brother around. By all accounts, he should not have survived past the age of 18 months old.
At that age, Richard was diagnosed with spinal meningitis, bilateral ear infections, pneumonia AND a shocking weight loss of 10 pounds. Though the doctors immediately did a tracheostomy, they informed his father there was not much else they could do for him. So the family had a priest perform the last rites.
That was in 1957. In a stunning recovery, Richard proved the experts wrong and survived. A few months later, his tube was removed. Now, in 2016, Richard is celebrating his 60th birthday. And his sister Violet could not be prouder.
"When I was 10 years old, I promised him I would always take care of him, and on some days, especially lately, the thought of seeing him smile helps me cope," she wrote in a Facebook post.
Although Richard has struggled with many health issues since his youth, such as epilepsy, hearing loss, and being a "perpetual 6-year-old," he has always pulled through. And he still wears the brightest smile in the room.
"I am blessed to have him as my brother, truly blessed," Violet wrote.
A very happy birthday, Richard! Here's to many more!