Monroe teen not expected to survive infancy celebrates 16th birthday

MONROE, Conn. (WTNH) — A Monroe teenager and his family have a lot to celebrate. When he was just two months old, Anthony Katz was diagnosed with a terminal illness. His parents were told he would not live to see his first birthday, but he turned 16 on Wednesday.

The rain did not dampen the celebratory spirit at Anthony’s “Finding Dory” themed birthday party in Monroe.

“We’re celebrating his life,” said Douglas Katz, Anthony’s dad. “He wasn’t supposed to live past his first year.”

When he was a baby, Anthony was diagnosed with x-linked myotubular myopathy, the most severe type of muscular dystrophy. Heidi Hemstock was Anthony’s nurse when he was a baby, and she attended his birthday party.

“Working in the newborn ICU unit [x-linked myotubular myopathy] is extremely rare. I think it’s just Anthony in Connecticut,” said Hemstock. “There have been some children who have not made it past one year and so he’s definitely a little miracle.”

Anthony’s birthday party brings the community together each year.

“His whole life he shows so many people happiness and love,” said Tina Katz, Anthony’s mom.

Tina Katz says her son needs care 24 -7, but he is doing well. She says Anthony was glad to see the rain, which fit nicely with the underwater theme. He’s a teenager who even when times were tough, just kept swimming.

“I believe the love and the happiness that he gets is why he’s with us, because he’s so happy,” said Tina Katz.

The Monroe Fire Department gave kids rides on fire trucks at the party. Anthony is an honorary firefighter.

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