Georgia 4-year old thrives despite more than 100 bone breaks
ATLANTA - Easton Elrod doesn't so much walk as glide into Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.
That is his M.O:, he pushes on.
The same way he's pushed through more than a 100 broken bones.
"His willpower and determination are awe-inspiring," Easton's mother Brianna Elrod says. "I don't know any other way to say it. He just gets up and does his thing."
Today, the White, Georgia, preschooler has come to Children's Healthcare for x-rays to check the alignment of his leg bones.
It's been 4 years since the Elrods' middle son was born broken, everywhere.
"Both legs, one arm, the back of his head, all of his ribs were broken," Brianna Elrod remembers.
Children's pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jill Flanagan, remembers getting a call from doctors at Easton's birth hospital.
They were at a loss, she says, "Because almost every bone in his body was broken, and they didn't know what to do."
Easton was diagnosed with a moderate to severe form of Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or OI, which most people think of as brittle bone disease.
OI is a genetic collagen disorder that left Easton's bones so fragile, his mom wasn't sure how to even be a mom to her baby.
Dr. Flanagan says she'll never forget Brianna Elrod's question, the day they met.
Easton was just 2-weeks old.
"She asked, 'How do I hold my son? How do I hold him so I don't hurt him," Dr. Flanagan recalls. "And my honest answer was, 'I don't know. I'm not a mom or someone who has a kid with OI, but let me introduce you to some other moms that do.'"
Easton has a chest port. Every 10 weeks, he comes in for an infusion of an IV drug to strengthen his bones and ease his pain.
When he was about 15-months old, Dr. Flanagan began placing expandable metal rods inside his leg bones.
"Those rods are like internal casts, that keep his bones straight and aligned," Dr. Flanagan explains. "The more straight his bones are, the less likely they are to break."
And Easton is growing.
He's an inch taller than his last checkup, which feels like a small victory to his mom.
"I've been asked so many times over the last few years, 'How do you do it? I couldn't do it,'" she says. " Yeah, you could, because you do what you need to do for your kid."
The Elrods let Easton take the lead.
He loves to swim, so they take him for water therapy.
He also undergoes physical and occupational therapy.
Easton wanted to play baseball,
So, his parents found the North Metro Miracle League, which helps children with disabilities get in the game.
And, just like that, the boy with the tiny walker, was hitting the ball and running the bases,
cheered on by his big brother and volunteers.
"Whatever he wants, I hope he gets it," says Easton's mother. "And he will. He's so determined."
Just two weeks later, Easton Elrod was back on the Miracle League diamond.
But, this time he ran the bases without his walker.
Step by step, he's proving anything is possible when you're four and fearless.
"It's like, yes, you can, and you are," Brianna Elrod says, smiling. "You're doing it well! So, rock on, kid!"