San Angelo woman with rare condition hopes to bring smiles to others like her

News Connection

Kara James was born with Moebius Syndrome, a rare neurological condition that affects the nerves that control the muscles in the face

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The Kara Smiles fund will host 3rd annual “Moebius Awareness Fun Run & Walk next Saturday.

“I couldn’t smile. I couldn’t express how I was feeling,” said Kara James.

Kara James was born with Moebius Syndrome, a rare neurological condition that affects the nerves that control the muscles in the face.

Growing up, Kara was unable to smile, frown and express herself, until she underwent facial reanimation surgeries that gave her a smile at the ages of 13 and 14.

“You start feeling a twitch. Every day, the twitch gets bigger and bigger. Eventually, you have a full smile,” explained Kara.

After attending a Moebius Syndrome Foundation Conference a few years ago, Kara learned more people were affected by the condition than she thought. Meeting all of them inspired Kara to help others like herself.

“I was always told, ‘there’s no one like you, you’ll never meet anyone like you.’ I went to a conference in Long Beach, California. I came back and I wanted to help people with Moebius who wanted the smile surgery,” added Kara.

With the help of the San Angelo Area Foundation, Kara created the “Kara Smiles Fund.”

“The fact that Matt Lewis didn’t know me, didn’t know my story and he and Janet took a chance on me and believed in me — 3 years later, here I am,” continued Kara.

For the last three years, the fund has organized fun runs to raise money and awareness for those dealing with Moebius Syndrome.

“The smile surgery is very expensive. It’s done around the world now and it’s very expensive.Not only the smile surgery, but people with Bell’s Palsy or any other issues or facial paralysis. I wanted to create this fund to help those people like I was helped when I was younger,” said Kara.

Kara has already helped one other person receive a new smile. She hopes with the continued help of the community, she can bring a smile to more.

The 3rd annual “Moebius Awareness Fun Run & Walk” will take place on Saturday, January 25th at Harmon Park. Registration will be at 8:00am.

According to Kara, if you are unable to make it to the event, you can support the cause by wearing purple on Moebius Awareness Day (January 24th).

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