CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - These are two different boys who share a lot in common.
They're both in Charlotte. They're both 2-and-a-half years old. They both live with something called microcephaly. Both are mistaken for having the Zika virus and both have parents who emailed me – coincidentally within hours of each other – to say they're sick of having to say their child DOESN'T have Zika.
So for the record I will emphasize, Carter (on the left) and Parker (on the right) do NOT have the Zika virus.
But within the past few weeks, both have been asked if they do.
It's because of their heads. Microcephaly means your head is small and grows slowly. Sometimes barely at all.
It's not common. Most people had never heard of "microcephaly" until Zika started making headlines.
The fact these boys are both in our area with parents who reached out with wildly similar emails begging for awareness is a bit amazing. Let me tell you more about the sons they love so much, and why they want to educate about their conditions.
Carter (again, on left) is 27 months old. His mom Michelle says he was born full term, but small. He's currently 23lbs with a head the size of an average 5-month-old. His neurologist said he may never walk or talk, but Carter is doing things doctors never thought possible. He is walking on his own and says "momma" and "dada".
"For 27 months I've been obsessed with my son's head circumference," Michelle said. "I measure it over and over. There are challenges we face, but not once have I noticed it actually shrinking in size. I'm tired of people asking me about Zika and feel sick these past months reading and watching all these reports."
She ended her note by saying, "Carter should not be feared, but loved."
Parker (on the right) is 31 months old and developmentally delayed, but dad Kyle calls him an extremely independent fighter.
"He's one of the happiest kids I know," Kyle says. "Parker's smile lights up a room. When he was born the doctors had no idea if he would ever be able to walk, talk or sit up but he is beating the odds every day."
See what I mean? Echoing emails.
Both parents say the situation is hard because microcephaly has many unknowns and doctors don't always have answers. Carter and Parker don't have many other cases for comparison.
Both sets of parents say they often depend on social online support groups for advice.
It's kharma, maybe, they both reached out the same time?
Hopefully Carter and his family, and Parker and his family, can use this page and this post to network together.
And for anyone else who ever runs into these sweet faces, feel free to ask about microcephaly – the families would love to spread awareness – but they ask you to please refrain from questioning whether their mom was bitten by a mosquito when pregnant.