A Healthy Baby
As they say, great things come in all shapes and sizes, and Broc Brown definitely proved this statement true. Born in Michigan to Darci Brown Elliot, it became clear from early on that Broc would be a little different than other kids his age. As a newborn, Broc fit the normal BMI, weighing eight pounds and stretching 22-inches long. Naturally, Darci wasn’t worried for her son, as he seemed perfectly healthy. But as time passed, things started getting out of hand…
In The Begining
Broc was always a happy and energetic child and many would tell his mother, “He’s so big and strong!” That was before they knew the real reason Broc was growing so big, which would only be discovered later on. As Broc transitioned from the infant phase to his toddler years, Darci started noticing that he was growing up a little faster than his peers. By kindergarten, Broc was so big that people would do a double take when they discovered his age.
It pains any parent to see their child grow in the blink of an eye, and for Darci, this was exactly what happened. Just in kindergarten, Broc already towered at five feet and two inches! This was more than double the size of his classmates and equal to the height of his mother. The boy’s parents couldn’t seem to figure out why their son was turning into a giant. Following constant stares and copious comments from other parents and friends, they decided to investigate the case.
When Broc entered middle school, he was six feet tall, and by the time he reached high school, he’d already grown to a staggering seven feet! Participating in school activities and taking on regular hobbies was an intense struggle for the young boy. In addition to physical complications, Broc also has learning disabilities such as ADHD. With struggles pouring into his life like a flood, Broc had an overall difficult school experience and was always waiting for the hurdle.
Hurdles To Overcome
Being a tall fellow comes with its pros and cons, but in Broc’s case, it mostly came with cons. He suffers from heart-strain, a curvature in his spine, and a narrowing spinal cord. His most difficult day-to-day struggle is the chronic pain throbbing in his back, which makes regular activities hard to perform. Unfortunately, several doctors informed Broc and his family that the chronic pain will be an issue he’ll have to tackle for the rest of his life.
Born with a single kidney, Broc can’t take any type of pain relievers to ease his discomfort. At night, he tosses and turns in his bed, looking for a comfortable spot where his back is at ease. Broc admitted once in an interview, “It kind of feels like a big tennis racket has gone through my back. “I do stuff to stop it hurting and it makes me feel like there’s a needle gone through it – it’s hard to deal with.”
A Mother’s Struggle
Aside from having to watch her son suffer on a regular basis, Darci also struggles with Broc’s condition on a physical level. She particularly remembers having difficulty caring for him due to his size in his younger years. She stated, “When you have a five-year-old who has hurt themselves and they come running at you, you pick them up. I would carry him around when he was half the size of me so I have a lot of back problems.”
As caring for Broc was becoming more and more difficult, Darci began to feel exhausted and distraught. Realizing her oversized son may have a serious health problem, she started booking doctor appointments and consultations to get to the bottom of it. During countless tests and hours of sitting in hospital waiting rooms, Broc’s family waited to get some insight on what was wrong with their poor Broc. When a diagnosis was finally given over, they were simply devastated.
Broc received his official diagnosis at age five. His condition is so rare, it only affects one in every 15,000 people. The giant boy was growing at an outrageous rate because of a hereditary condition known as Sotos Syndrome (also referred to as “cerebral gigantism”). While the family was relieved to finally understand was wrong with their son, they still feared Broc’s untold future. Uncertain if he would ever stop growing, they were hesitant if Broc would make it past his teenage years…
According to the definition, Sotos Syndrome is a disorder characterized by a distinctive facial appearance, overgrowth in childhood, or delayed development of mental and movement abilities. People with the syndrome often have intellectual disabilities and behavioral problems including ADHD, phobias, obsessions, compulsions, tantrums, and impulsivity. Other signs of the syndrome are scoliosis, seizures, heart/kidney defects, hearing loss, and vision problems. Some new born babies with this condition experience yellowing of the eyes and skin and poor feeding.
The aftermath of Broc’s diagnosis was harsh. Broc is particularly larger and taller than most of the other people who suffer from Solos Syndrome. Doctors informed his parents that he most likely wouldn’t live past his teenage years. It was hard for Broc’s family to accept the horrifying reality recently discovered. To make things worse, they also had to make terms with the fact that there was no standard treatment for the genetic disorder. Despite the devastation of the diagnosis, Broc kept living his life, and his story was certainly not over…
Because of his condition, Broc’s family has taken many steps to make his life as comfortable and easy as possible. Unsure of whether or not Broc would stop growing, Darci ordered him a custom-made 8-foot-long bed with special comfort features. In addition, she purchased Broc a special chair, that with the bed, cost her a whopping $1,000. Broc’s tailor-made furniture particularly comes in handy when he goes through painful growth spurts and sleeps for up to 16 hours a day.
A Pocket Full Of Sunshine
Despite his struggles, Broc manages to wake up every day with a smile on his face and a positive attitude. Life hasn’t been easy for the over-sized teenager and his aunt said, “He takes on his condition day by day with a smile on his face.” His mother added in, “Overall he is a big softie, his heart is as big as his body.” Those who know Broc have observed that not only is his size extraordinary, but so is his character. So what does his everyday life look like?
Every day is a hurdle for “Big Broc.” Due to his unusual size, things like standing for long periods of time, getting through doors, and riding in cars are activities that require much effort and sometimes, consequences. Even though going to the movies, sitting in restaurant booths, and fitting into small places are a struggle, Broc still does them with a smile on his face. Thankfully, as of late, he’s been able to do some traveling here and there…
A Record Breaker
Growing up in the small town of Jackson Michigan, Broc became popular not only for his absurd height but also for his kind and warm personality. You could never miss Broc, not even you wanted to. The likable teen not only found fame in his town, but he soon went on to gain recognition on an international level. In 2015, Broc held the Guinness World Record title for the world’s tallest teenager. That was until he turned 19, when he no longer fit into the “teenage” category…
Broc’s life took a positive turn when he was invited to participate in the TLC documentary, Tallest Teens in 2016. The show highlighted the lives of several Americans teenagers who recently topped the growth chart. This was the first time Broc had an opportunity to meet and interact with kids suffering from the same condition. No longer feeling alone, Broc was inspired by the experience and took home many valuable tips and lessons for the future. But that wasn’t all…
The TLC program wasn’t the last time Broc appeared on TV. Following the Tall Teens documentary, Maury from The Maury Show invited Broc to join him on a special anti-bullying episode. Agreeing to the invitation, Broc and his mother came on stage and shared their story, in hopes of raising awareness of bullying and putting it to a halt. Following the show, Maury showered Broc with gifts, including a new wheelchair and a ten-year supply of fish sticks. Broc and Darci were overjoyed by the gesture, but what happened after the show was even better…
Tall And Famous
Between a devoted mother, encouraging family members, and kind friends, Broc has always had a strong support system. However, after his debut on Tallest Teens and The Maury Show, the circle enlargened significantly. Broc’s appearances have catalyzed some incredible responses that have impacted him and those close to him dramatically. He has since been contacted by many people who want to share support and has pretty much become a celebrity. But there were still other unignorable issues the family faced as a result of Broc’s medical condition…
Big Boy, Big Bills
Keeping up with the needs of a child who grows on average six inches a year is no easy financial task for any parent. Add in specially designed apparel along with custom-made furniture, throw in the constant barrage of medical bills, and you’ll have yourself a very costly child to take care of. Currently standing at seven feet and eight inches, Broc continues to grow and finding him everyday items gets more expensive by the day.
A Supportive Community
Despite the financial strain weighing in, Broc’s family wasn’t going to let money control their lives. They started brainstorming ways to raise funds and created a support page for Broc on Facebook. The page reached 15,000 likes following Broc’s appearance on the TLC documentary. Wanting to help and support team Broc, the Michigan community held fundraisers and projects that totaled in $10,400 worth of goodwill for the family. Darci profusely expressed her gratitude on several occasions, but this was only the beginning of the blessings…
Broc and his family were truly touched by the extent of the thoughtful donations and supportive social media outreach that took place at that time. One kind soul even sent Broc a pair of tickets to a Detroit Pistons game. Broc had a spectacular time cheering on his team and even got to meet some of his favorite players following the game. In spite of the generous financial and emotional support the family was given, they still struggled and, according to Darci, the funds didn’t last long…
Visiting A Specialist
After all the struggling, even with the donations, Darci and Broc embarked on a 1,000-mile flight to Arkansas to visit a Sotos specialist, Dr. Bradley Schaefer of Arkansas Children’s Hospital. No one would have guessed that this Doctor was about to reveal something more valuable than any donation. It was the absolute best news they heard in forever. Although Dr. Shaefer said there wasn’t a way to permanently relieve Broc’s back pain, he relayed a reassuring prognosis…
A New Start
At first, doctors estimated the tall Michigan boy would live a very short life, but the minute Dr. Schaefer stepped into Broc’s life, reality changed. Until now, Broc did a good job proving doctors wrong in terms of his life expectancy, as they predicted he wouldn’t make it past age 14. When Dr. Schaefer entered the room and announced Broc was no longer in life-threatening danger, Darci and her son were speechless. In relief, Broc exclaimed, “It’s the best thing I could have heard! I’m so happy that I will live for a long time.”