West Middlesex family hopes ‘Wonder’ movie brings understanding

WEST MIDDLESEX, Pa. (WYTV) – The movie “Wonder,” based on a book about a boy with facial differences attending elementary school for the first time, comes out in theaters across the country on Friday. But in West Middlesex, one family is just beginning their journey down a similar path.

When you walk into the Davis home, you’ll find four boys filled with energy and laughter. The youngest, Luke, is living with Apert syndrome.

“His fingers were fused together and his toes,” said his mother, Theresa. “The soft spots on his head are called sutures and they were fused together prematurely.”

In Luke’s short 1-and-a-half years of life, he’s had 13 surgeries. Most have been on his nasal cavity and hands but there was one big cranial surgery that Luke will have to undergo again soon.

“They actually put hardware in the back of his head and they put little screws in there that Theresa and I had to turn,” said Luke’s father, Lew.

Even though there are physical differences, Luke’s parents said he’s mentally on track with where he should be for his age.

“We’ve met a few adults with Apert syndrome and outside of the physical differences, they’re just as normal as you and I,” Lew said.

Getting past those physical differences is where the Davis family hopes the movie Wonder will come into play.

They said going out in public can be hard. While they understand kids staring out of curiosity, it can be harsh when adults stare.

“Theresa will say, ‘Do you have a question about him?’ or she will try to engage them so that they can understand what’s going on with him and that’s seemed to help,” Lew said.

“Instead of people staring, there’s warm smiles and understanding that just because he does look different than another child that could be in the restaurant next to him doesn’t mean that he feels any differently,” Theresa said.

Luke’s parents said the extensive surgeries and appointments can also take a toll on their family, especially their three other sons.

“They worry about him a lot and they miss us,” Theresa said. “They miss being home and the normalcy.”

But when the family is all together under one roof, Luke’s brother, Conner, said he’s fun to have around. They say little Luke never misses a beat.

“Even though he has all of these problems, he’s always happy.”