Twin albino students share a genetic rarity
Published: Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Updated: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 12:03
Pale skin, light hair, pinkish eyes, visual abnormalities, "movie-a-holics" and major sport fans. Who is being described? Sophomore twins Cathy and Chris Morgan, both who have albinism.
The Morgans, from Price, Utah, are pretty unique. Cathy, print journalism major, said growing up they were the only documented boy/girl twin albinos in the world.
"It's pretty weird for us to be (albino) twins," said Chris, a computer science major.
Cathy said albinism is a rare genetic disease that causes a lack of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. The result? Light-colored skin and hair, and bad sunburns.
"We get sunburned very easy," Chris said. "We can't be outside for more than an hour."
Cathy said there are a lot of misconceptions about albinism.
"We're not allergic to the sun," she said, laughing.
Cathy said she and Chris have gotten used to the weird looks and misconceptions over the years.
"We don't get offended by questions," she said. "We're pretty used to it, but we still get funny looks."
Cathy said she and Chris were recently visiting Baltimore, Md., with a friend who is also albino.
"No taxicabs would pick us up," she said. "We had to get someone else to get a taxi for us."
Chris said being albino was more difficult when they were younger, but they've gotten used to it as they get older.
"We hated putting on sunscreen, but it's easier now," he said.
Cathy said another common trait in albinos is visual impairment. As a result, she said neither of them can drive, which was a deciding factor in choosing Utah State for higher education.
"We mostly chose USU because of the (free) transportation up here," she said.
Chris added, "(Because) we don't drive, it just makes it easier to get around."
Cathy said she and Chris are really good friends, and do a lot of things together.
"I think we get along better than most twins," she said. "We're big sports fans, we love baseball."
Cathy also said they're "movie-a-holics."
"You name it, we've seen it," Chris said.
Last year the twins also started the Goalball Club, a sport similar to bowling, for the blind or visually impaired.
"It's really neat," Chris said. "There are a bunch of members."
Chris said they laugh about the attention they get on campus.
"Apparently we're some kind of cult phenomenon," he said. "It's kind of fun."