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Miracle Child Spotlight: Spencer Beal

Spencer’s Akron Children’s Hospital experience started out with a life threatening episode. He was just five months old and was scheduled for his first ever appointment with the Skeletal Dysplasia Clinic at Akron Children’s Hospital (ACH). When him and his family arrived in the parking garage Spencer had stopped breathing, was blue, foaming at the mouth and unresponsive. His family ran through the parking garage while Spencer’s dad, Scott, attempted to perform CPR. When they entered the building someone was able to call for help and a Code Blue was called. Within minutes, a team of doctors, nurses and even a social worker were there caring for Spencer and his parents! Due to the specialized dwarfism clinic at ACH, the ER doctors were able to get needed information from the clinic and make a quick diagnosis. Spencer had had a life threatening episode due to central apnea. He was able to have lifesaving neurosurgery within days. He made an incredibly quick recovery thanks to the expert care he received.

Throughout their time at Akron Children’s Hospital the Beal’s have come to realize the amazing resource that the Dysplasia Clinic offers for kids like Spencer and families like theirs. Spencer’s mom, Bri stated “To have a child with an uncommon condition and yet to have a team of knowledgeable doctors so close to home, is invaluable.” Thanks to the expertise of the doctors at ACH, Spencer not only has received lifesaving care but quality of life.

The treatment of his achondroplasia is ongoing. Many of the skeletal issues Spencer faces require continued monitoring and care. At the age of three, he had developed severe bowing in both legs. Without the corrective surgery he received, he would likely not be walking today. His doctors also continue to monitor his spine. Spencer developed a curvature of his spine, common in children with achondroplasia that often self corrects as the child grows. However, Spencer’s continued to worsen and he developed degeneration in the vertebrae. Due to this, he is closely monitored for neurological changes that may be caused by the damage in his spinal column. The probability for major back surgery is high.

Spencer also has had ongoing complications with his ears due to the structural abnormalities from his dwarfism. He has spent an incredible amount of time in the Ear, Nose and Throat Center for ear infections and hearing loss. He has had a total of six ear surgeries and today is infection free and has zero hearing loss! He will continue to have follow ups with the ENT Center as the possibility of returning complications is high. On top of all of these dwarfism related complications, Spencer also is dealing with an issue completely unrelated to his primary diagnosis. In 2017 he was diagnosed with migraines. Once again, the doctors at Akron Children’s Hospital stepped up with incredible knowledge and a treatment plan for a condition that falls more under “typical” childhood issues. The Beal’s are so grateful for the complete care that Spencer receives at ACH! Spencer has had more surgeries than birthdays (13) and countless appointments and tests. He unfortunately has had most every complication of his condition. He has definitely not had a typical experience when it comes to the medical challenges he’s encountered or to the typical course of complications related to achondroplasia. Thankfully, Akron Children’s Hospital has made each one of these challenges easier on Spencer and his entire family. Despite everything this little boy has been through, he still remains positive, touching the lives of everyone he meets and inspiring so many around him. When asked about his condition Spencer stated, “My dwarfism doesn’t make me who I am. Once you overcome the hard parts it’s okay. I really don’t think about it, I’m just me.” And Spencer’s “just me” is a ball of outgoing, energy that just wants to help give back to the hospital that saved his life when he was just 5 months old.