A Georgia preschooler who was “born broken” is flourishing regardless of more than 100 bone breaks and a genetic collagen condition that left his skeletal frame so delicate that his parents weren’t sure how to hold him.
“His willpower and determination are awe-inspiring,” Brianna Elrod, Easton Elrod’s mother said.
“I don’t know any other way to say it. He just gets up and does his thing.”
Easton was born with a moderate to severe type of Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), likewise described as brittle bone disease. OI is rare, only about 20,000 cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
Almost every bone in his body was broken at the time of his birth. When he was just 15-months-old, doctors positioned expandable metal rods inside his leg bones to help him grow.
“Those rods are like internal casts, that keep his bones straight and aligned,” Dr. Jill Flanagan, Easton’s pediatric orthopedic surgeon at children’s Healthcare of Atlanta explained. “The more straight his bones are, the less likely they are to break.”
Through physical and occupational treatments, including water therapy, Easton has worked to enhance his body. He receives an infusion of an IV drug every 10 weeks through a chest port, and just recently began playing baseball with the North Metro Miracle League.
In one of his latest games, Easton rounded the bases without the support of his walker.
“Whatever he wants, I hope he gets it,” Elrod told a Fox News outlet. “And he will. He’s so determined.”
Currently, there is no known cure for OI. Treatment is generally aimed toward preventing or controlling the symptoms, maximizing independent mobility, and developing optimal bone mass and muscle strength.
Those with OI are encouraged to exercise as much as possible to promote muscle and bone strength, which can help reduce fractures. Swimming and water therapy are some of the best and lowest risk exercise choices for people with OI.