Samantha Jolicoeur has a son with a terminal genetic condition. He’s blind and deaf, but when he was upset as a baby, there was one foolproof way to calm him down. What’s more, Samantha uploaded a video of the technique to the internet – and it soon went totally viral.
Samantha met her husband, Kevin, on a blind date – and the pair now have three children. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for them, though. They spoke about their experiences in a video on Samantha’s blog, “Life With A Happy Heart.”
During the early days of their relationship, Kevin noted that he began pulling away when he realized how much baggage he and Samantha both carried with them. But then, in March 2009, Samantha discovered that she was pregnant. Even so, Kevin still wasn’t sure about the relationship.
Indeed, he didn’t want to get married just because there was a baby on the way. In fact, they actually broke up, and Kevin started dating another woman while Samantha’s pregnancy continued. Indeed, by the time that the baby girl arrived, Kevin and Samantha were full of bitterness for each other.
To make matters worse, Kevin’s name wasn’t put on the birth certificate. Then, the one-time couple got lawyers involved to deal with visitation arrangements. “We did everything the hard way,” recalled Samantha in the heartfelt video that she featured on her blog.
Slowly, the couple began to reconcile, and Kevin ended his relationship with the other woman. “A light bulb clicked back on for me,” Kevin said. They forgave each other and focused their time and energy on their daughter. Then, in 2011, they got married.
But there was yet another serious challenge on the way for the couple. In 2013, they welcomed a second child into their family, and this time it was a boy. However, as soon as Gideon was born, doctors knew that there was something wrong with him.
It took seven months to officially diagnose Gideon with Peroxisome Biogenesis Disorder. The terminal condition meant that he was almost totally blind and practically deaf. Not only that, but his life expectancy would be limited. In fact, doctors said that he would only live for between 2 and 20 years.
Samantha and Kevin were also told that any future children they had would have a 25 percent chance of being born with the same condition. Samantha recalled, “[We were about to] face a whole new storm that we were inadequate to weather on our own.”
Gideon’s name means “mighty warrior” in Hebrew and even though there was no cure for his condition, he fought on. Nevertheless, Gideon didn’t develop like other children. Now five-years-old, he hasn’t learned to walk, crawl or communicate with his parents.
Although Samantha and Kevin have found comfort in their faith in times of despair, Samantha also uses her website as a way to deal with Gideon’s condition. “I started a blog because our middle son has a rare, terminal genetic disorder and I cope with it by word vomiting to the public,” she wrote.
The name of Samantha’s blog, “Life With A Happy Heart,” encompasses her surname, “Jolicoeur,” which means “happy heart” in French. She also has a YouTube channel which has over 20,000 subscribers. And one of the videos she uploaded in 2015 sent the internet into a spin.
The video in question features Gideon and Kevin, and it’s so adorable that the internet hasn’t been able to get enough of it. It was uploaded back in 2015 and has had nearly four million views. That’s despite the fact that it sees baby Gideon being visibly upset.
The footage begins with Gideon crying as Kevin holds him. Samantha’s voice can be heard over the top of the video. She says, “OK, this is Gideon mad. And this is what happens when daddy does this…” Then, Kevin does something totally unexpected.
He brings his crying son closer and places his lips against the side of his face. Then he blows the biggest raspberry on Gideon’s cheek. It has an incredible effect. Gideon suddenly stops crying and appears to be soothed.
But as soon as Kevin stops blowing the raspberry, Gideon gets upset again, and the crying continues. So Samantha asks, “How do we make him better?” And there’s only one thing to do. Daddy blows yet another raspberry on his son’s cheek.
Amazingly, the second raspberry has exactly the same effect. Gideon appears to suddenly become far calmer, and he stops crying. The same process is repeated several more times until the footage ends. There’s clearly something about the vibrations that work to soothe the blind and deaf baby.
It’s no surprise that most people who watched the video thought that it was absolutely adorable. “What wonderful parents, and bless your dear sweet baby,” wrote one YouTube user. Others couldn’t get over how cute Gideon was. One viewer commented, “He is so sweet. I just want to pinch his little double chin and kiss his cheeks.”
The couple have continued to upload videos of their family, but none have reached as wide an audience as this one. These days, though, there’s another individual in the videos – the couple’s third child, Josiah. He was born in 2016, and he doesn’t suffer from Gideon’s condition.
Although it’s heartbreaking for any parent to care for a child with a shortened life span, Samantha and Kevin’s unconditional love for Gideon is plain to see. In a letter to Gideon posted on the blog, Samantha wrote, “We know your life has great purpose, and we find great joy and great responsibility in being your parents.”