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Heroes Come In All Sizes

April 2014

Steven Parker, Jr. was diagnosed at birth with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a genetic disorder characterized by bones that break easily. OI may affect the body's ability to make strong bones – but it did nothing to weaken the determination of one small boy.

The birth of a baby is usually the beginning of a series of happy milestones as the child grows in Health and strength. But what if that child is born with almost 40 broken bones, a shattered skull and hemorrhaging in the brain? "They told us he would survive no longer than 3 weeks," according to Becky Parker, the mother of little Steven Parker, Jr.

Baby Steven, born at St.Vincent Women's Hospital on May 27, 2008, was suffering from osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a soft bone disease. His case was the most severe his doctors had ever seen. After a week in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, he was discharged from the hospital to spend the first year of his life at home on hospice care.

"But we never gave up hope on him," said his mother. A remarkable journey of care was about to begin.

Fragile and broken, Steven was carried in on a pillow by his parents when the family first arrived at the Pediatric Orthopedic Center at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent. Pediatric Nurse Mary Kay helped baby Steven by showing his parents how to properly care for a child with a brittle bone disease. As Steven progressed, multiple surgeries with Dr. Kosmas Kayes helped him improve.

"The nurses and the doctors do a really good job of making him feel comfortable," says Becky Parker. "For parents coming to Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent for the first time, I would say to them that you're in very good hands."

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