Katie Renfroe celebrates her birthday at Fat Daddy’s Arcade

Lauren Delgado | Northwest Florida Daily News
Katie Renfroe, left, celebrates her fifth birthday Saturday with her mom Angie and sister Dannial at Fat Daddy’s Arcade in Destin.

Katie Renfroe couldn’t stop gazing at the blue ceiling at Fat Daddy’s Arcade, mesmerized by the  quarter-sized mirrors that twinkled down on her.

“I don’t think she ever gets bored,” said her mom Angie. “She always has something to do or something to look at.”

There was plenty of both at Katie’s fifth birthday party Saturday. She was surrounded by games, lights, and her family — parents, seven siblings and two extended family members.

“We bring our own party,” said her dad, Danial.

People all over the world have been following Katie’s story since the Daily News published an article about her condition and her family last November. Before she was born, the Paxton girl was diagnosed with megalencephaly, a rare disorder that causes abnormally large facial features.

At the arcade, Katie watched her siblings race around playing games and collecting lines of prize tickets before taking a turn herself.

Her eyes grew wide as she took in the bright blinking lights of “Monster Jackpot.” She smacked the button to start the game as her 3-year-old brother Kenneth gave his own coins to keep her playing.

“She’s a wonderful, loved little girl,” Angie said.

Five years ago, Angie said it was hard to imagine Katie alive and getting the help she needed. Doctors were unsure how long she would live. She’s still on the “failure to thrive” list she was placed on when she was born.

The Renfroes traveled to South Florida last November for Katie’s first of many surgeries to reduce her facial features. The family will return in March for the next operation.

“I’ll be glad when they say this is the last surgery,” Angie said.

People touched by Katie’s story have donated to the family. Angie said the donations helped with the trip for her surgery, keeping the family’s 1995 van running and Saturday’s birthday party.

Angie has two wishes for Katie: that she move out of Mommy’s bedroom and that she continue to get better.

“It’s all worth it,” Angie said. “I wouldn’t change a day of it … I thank God for her.”