Sisters overcome obstacles, dress to impress on Halloween
Benton's Scott and Gwen Hartley often share stories about their three children, including their journey caring for their two daughters, Claire and Lola. The sisters, born five years apart, have a neurological condition called Microcephaly.
Microcephaly is a birth defect where a child is born with a head that is much smaller compared with babies of the same age and sex. With their condition, Claire and Lola have special needs that require the extra care from their parents, but it doesn't hold the Hartleys back.
The sisters have overcome many obstacles. When Eyewitness News
, Gwen Hartley said when doctors diagnosed Claire with Microcephaly, they told the couple their first daughter likely wouldn't live to see her first birthday.
About five years later, the couple learned Lola also had the neurological condition.
"Just like any parent we just love our kids," Scott Hartley said in March 2016. "You do anything for your kid, no matter what their diagnoses might be, or what physical challenges they might have. You love your kids and you do whatever you need to to make them happy and have a great life."
Through the years, the sisters, now 17 and 12, have worn a variety of fun costumes on Halloween. They've dressed as super heroes, mermaids, lambs and Scooby Doo characters to name a few. This year, they went all out as Star Wars characters.
The Hartley family admits they like to go all out for Halloween.
"It's pretty fun. It's kind of one of the highlights of our year, I would say," Gwenn says.
The joy on Halloween comes with a positive shift for people like Claire and Lola.
"More recently in our culture, the kids with disabilities, people are starting to realize they're a functioning part of society, and they want to get them involved," Scott says.
Scott and Gwen's son Cal is away at college and couldn't return to be with his younger sisters for Halloween this year. But he did come home before Halloween for family costume pictures.
More than 45,000 people follow the Hartley's journey on their Facebook page. And whether it's Halloween or any typical day, the Hartleys have one thing they want people to remember.
"The most important thing is with any kid, no matter who they are or what they look like or what their disability might be, the thing is, treat them like any other kid," Scott says.