Phoenix – StoryCorps
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Her Son Wasn’t Expected To Survive. Now He’s Showing Her “How To Live”

Isaiah Acosta was born with several health issues, including a rare condition called agnathia in which he doesn’t have a lower jaw. Because of that, he can’t eat, speak or breathe on his own.

When he was born, doctors warned his parents that Isaiah had gone several minutes without oxygen and that he probably wouldn’t last through the night.

Tarah and Isaiah Acosta, approximately a month after Isaiah’s birth

Eighteen years later, on the verge of his high school graduation, Isaiah sat down to have this StoryCorps conversation with his mom, Tarah Acosta.

A note to listeners: Isaiah communicates by typing into an app on his phone and tablet, which then translates his words into audio. 

Top Photo (left to right): Tarah and Isaiah Acosta at their StoryCorps interview in Phoenix, AZ on May 14, 2018. By Mia Warren for StoryCorps

Originally aired May 21, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Gilbert Zermeño and Pat Powers-Zermeño

Gilbert Zermeño came from a family without much money. They lived on the plains of West Texas and got by on the $100 a week that Gilbert’s father made working the cotton fields, so when Gilbert wanted to join the school band and play the saxophone, it wasn’t as easy for his mother as just going out and buying a sax.

At StoryCorps, Gilbert explains to his wife, Pat Powers- Zermeño, how, with the help of the Virgin of Guadalupe, he ended up playing not the saxophone, but the trombone.

Originally aired June 21, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Juana Rincón Espitia y Jessica Rubio

Juana Rincó Espitia habla con su hija, Jessica Rubio, sobre la deportació de su hermano Josué.