The little Kirkcaldy girl who just can’t smile

kirkcaldy;'CIYA RUTHERFORD with daughter KIANNA MARTIN, age 2, who suffers from a rare ' (unknown ) disease'photo; WALTER NEILSON
kirkcaldy;'CIYA RUTHERFORD with daughter KIANNA MARTIN, age 2, who suffers from a rare ' (unknown ) disease'photo; WALTER NEILSON
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EVERY time strangers ask little Kianna Martin to give them a smile it breaks her mum’s heart.

The tiny tot has a condition which means she has never been able to smile - and it is so rare that doctors are unable to diagnose exactly what it is.

Ciya Rutherford (20), who stays in Kirkcaldy, opened her heart to The Press about her daughter’s unique syndrome which has also left her unable to swallow.

To her mum Kianna is a little miracle.

When she was born doctors only gave her a week to live but now, two years on, she is continuing to stun medics with her progress.

Ciya said: “When I had a scan done six weeks before she was born nothing came up which showed there was anything wrong.

‘’But Kianna arrived four weeks early so sometime between the last scan and her being delivered, something must have happened.

“When she was born she couldn’t breathe properly and had a big lump on her head which looked like she had a second forehead. She couldn’t move at all and was completely rigid for six months.

‘’The doctors told me she would always be paralysed and would never be able to do anything. It was horrible.

“She couldn’t move her eyes and she can’t close her mouth - but what I find the hardest is that she can’t smile. The nerves on either side of her mouth are damaged.


‘‘I still find it heartbreaking when strangers come up to us and ask why Kianna isn’t giving big smiles. That hurts the most.

‘‘I want to tell them why but I don’t want to make them feel bad for saying it.”

However, Kianna is continually improving and doctors have been amazed at what she has been able to do.

Ciya continued: “At six-and-a-half months she opened her hands and is now able to move in a type of crawl, commando-style!

‘‘She has a zimmer to help her walk and is also starting to learn sign language.

‘‘She was on eight different medications a day but that is down to two or three.

‘‘She also had to be given oxygen regularly, but now only needs it if she is really ill. It is getting easier as she gets older.”

As she can’t swallow, Kianna has to be fed through a small tube into her tummy for four hours, twice a day. She also has a lot of bowel problems.

Sick Kids

Ciya said: “Kianna is still going for tests but the doctors don’t know exactly what her condition is. I have been taking her back and forth to the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh.

‘‘At one point they thought it might be Moebius Syndrome - as being unable to smile is the main symptom of that condition - but she is able to move her eyes and doesn’t have a lot of the other symptoms of that syndrome, so they don’t think it is that now. It is so rare that she may be the only one with this.”

The family are trying to raise money to take Kianna to a special facility in Somerset which has a sensory pool and a soft room where the staff do physiotherapy with babies to help improve their mobility.

It’s hoped a fun day will be held in Kirkcaldy in the summer to contribute towards the £1200 costs.

Ciya added: “Kianna can’t smile but she has a sort of twitch like she is trying to smile.

‘‘But I know when she is happy because I can tell by her eyes and the noises she makes. She is my wee miracle.”