For Darci Brown Elliott, it was clear, that from an early age, her son, Broc, would be taller than the other kids. However, as the years passed, they never believed that he would eventually make headlines.
Small Town Beginnings
Her newborn son, Broc Brown, was born at a healthy size – weighing just under eight pounds and measuring 22-inches-long. But as the young boy started to grow, it became apparent that he stood out.
Growing Up In The Blink Of An Eye
As an infant and young child, Broc Brown was a happy kid. At an early age, however, it seemed apparent that Broc was already ahead. Most young children experience significant growth spurts, but Broc seemed to be growing at a much faster rate than his friends. As he approached kindergarten, a shocking observation was made.
While most parents feel that their children grow up in the blink of an eye, Broc Brown’s mother was baffled by her son’s rapid growth. By kindergarten, the young boy was already towering over his fellow kindergarteners at 5-foot 2-inches tall. But they did not know why this was happening.
Same Size As His Mother
At this point, Broc Brown was about as tall as his mother, Darci. No longer able to ignore his extraordinary height, she started to become extremely worried. “When he was small, he couldn’t ride a bike,” his aunt Stacy Snyder said. “But when you’re trying to teach a 6-year-old who’s the same size as you, it’s hard. You can’t stabilize him.” As the questions about Broc’s growth grew, he and his family would soon find out the reason that would alter the course of their lives.
A Mother’s Love
Apart from the usual hobbies that young children like to take part in, Broc Brown’s mother noticed that it was getting more difficult to perform other day-to-day aspects of caring for her young son due to his rapid growth. “When you have a five-year-old who has hurt themselves and they come running at you, you pick them up,” added Darci. “I would carry him around when he was half the size of me so I have a lot of back problems.”
Time to Call the Doctor
Suspecting that this was something more than just an early growth spurt, mother Darci was extremely concerned. It was around that time that Broc Brown’s family took him to the doctor to find out what was going on with him.
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Following consultations, medical professionals ran some tests on the young boy. While Brown’s mother was worried that something was out of the ordinary, his concerned family would soon get the medical results that would reveal an astonishing conclusion.
At the young age of five, Broc Brown received a rare diagnosis that affects about one in every 15,000 people. After a long and grueling wait, doctors finally determined that he had a hereditary condition called Sotos Syndrome, which is also referred to as “cerebral gigantism.”
A Gloomy Prognosis
“There’s nothing that can stop him from growing – I don’t know if he will ever stop,” his mother Darci has asserted. While there was now an explanation for Brown’s condition, his family was still worried as it wasn’t initially clear what the future would hold in store for him. While dealing with the shock and worry about the unexpected diagnosis, Broc Brown’s family had to deal with additional devastation. Doctors told Broc’s mother that it was unlikely that her only son would outlive his teenage years.
Was There Available Treatment?
It didn’t help the situation to learn that there is no standard treatment for Sotos syndrome and those with the genetic disorder are treated on a symptomatic basis. Despite the gloomy outlook, no one could have foreseen the unbelievable events that would happen.
What is Sotos Syndrome, Exactly?
People with the rare genetic disorder Sotos syndrome are prone to excessive physical growth, particularly in the early years of life until the teenage years. Those with Sotos typically grow taller and faster than their siblings and peers.
While school-aged children commonly experience sudden growth spurts in the teenage years, Michigan boy Broc Brown continued to sprout up above his classmates throughout middle school. Even in high school, his vertical orientation was ahead of the crowd.
Like any teenage boy, Broc liked to fish and spend time with his friends, but he was unmistakably unique. At the age of 11, Brock was already an incredible 6-feet-tall, and by age 14, he towered over most of the rest of his class, measuring seven-feet-tall. Still, his growth wouldn’t stop there.
While people who are born with Sotos syndrome are notedly taller than average, medical experts noted that Broc Brown was larger than most people with the genetic disorder. That pronouncement caused doctors and his family to become increasingly concerned about his health.
Early estimates, were that Brown wouldn’t make it to adulthood, as he continued growing at a steadily speedy pace well into his early teen years. When Brown was 14, his hopeful family again received distressing news. Now, doctors were saying it was possible that he wouldn’t make it past age 15.
Standing Tall in the Face of Adversity
As is common with people who have Soto syndrome, Brown suffers from a strain on his heart, a curvature of the spine, ADHD, intermittent explosive disorder and some learning difficulties. In addition, he was born with only one kidney and therefore cannot take painkillers despite his chronic discomfort.
“It kind of feels like a big tennis racket has gone through my back,” he has said about his relentless pain. “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.” And that wasn’t all. In light of his circumstances, Broc Brown and his family have taken steps to try to make life more comfortable. Seeing that it wasn’t clear whether he’d ever stop growing, Brown employed the help of some special features to fit his frame.
The ever-growing young man has a custom-made eight-foot bed and a special chair that comes at a hefty $1,000. His tailor-made bedroom furnishing particularly comes in handy when he sleeps up to 16 hours a day during growth spurts. In spite of his trying circumstances, Brown only had one simple wish as a teen.
‘A Heart As Big As His Body’
Despite all of the obstacles and hardships that Broc has faced, his aunt Stacy Snyder says, he “takes on his condition day by day with a smile on his face.” His mother beamingly adds: “Overall he is a big softie, his heart is as big as his body. Amazingly, Broc has maintained a sunny attitude throughout everything. Those who know him have observed that not only is his height extraordinary, but so is his character. The humble young man has one heart-melting request: “I just wish the doctors could do something to help my pain.” But what does his everyday life look like?
Refusing to Stay Sedentary
Due to his condition, everyday activities can be a challenge for Broc. Standing for long times, walking through doors and riding in cars can prove to be difficult talks. Sitting in restaurant booths, going to movies and fitting into small spaces are also not easy feats. things would start to look up for Broc when he was part of an incredible experience that would make a huge impact on his young life.
Broc Brown was something of a well-known figure growing up in Jackson, Michigan. But the likable teen from the small town of about 30,000 residents, in fact, went on to gain recognition on an international scale.
Guinness World Record
Until 2015, Brown held the Guinness World Record title of the world’s tallest teenager until he turned 19 and became too old for the classification. Considering his doctors didn’t think he would make it past 15, his record breaking is all the more impressive. Brown succeeded fellow tall teen Kevin Bradford, but the Michigan native might even reach another record.
More Than Just the Tallest Teen
As the years have passed, Broc Brown’s growth rate hasn’t slowed down. At the age of 19, he had reached the extraordinary height of 7-foot 8-inches, towering over his family members. And according to his mom, he is still growing at the rapid rate of six inches a year.
A Brave Appearance
In 2016, the brave teen was featured on a special anti-bullying episode of The Maury Show. Broc and his mother, Darci, shared their story and delivered an encouraging message about putting a halt to bullying. Although he seems to be surrounded by a caring network of family and friends, Broc’s participation on the TV shows catalyzed some amazing responses that have had a big impact on him and those close to him.
A Financial Hurdle
While keeping up with the clothing needs of growing children is something most families face, Broc Brown’s ever-increasing stature meant that a sizable budget was needed to keep him clothed and comfortable. Furthermore, due to his size, Broc was regularly in need of specially-designed clothing and shoes.
A Considerate Community
In addition to the custom-made furniture that Broc needed for his bedroom, he also needed basic clothing staples. However, at 7-foot 8-inches and potentially getting taller, everyday items like shoes, shirts and shocks can be extremely hard to find. Determined not to let the financial strain control the situation, Broc’s family had already set up The Support Page for Broc D Brown on Facebook, but they were shocked when the forum jumped to more than 15,000 likes.
An Overwhelming Outpouring
Various benefits for Broc have raked in some $10,400, but that wasn’t all. Although they weren’t expecting the extent of the compassionate outpouring of thoughtful donations and supportive social media outreach, Broc Brown and his family were truly touched. Someone even donated tickets to a Detroit Pistons basketball and Broc had a great time meeting some of the players.
Concerns For The Future
According to his mom, the funds “didn’t last long, we had a lot of outfits but within a year he was out of them and it was time to do it all again.” While the family was more than appreciative for all of the outreach, they understandably were still concerned about the future. While some people may take for granted the ability to readily go out and buy a simple T-shirt, that isn’t the case for Broc, who gratefully revels at every new wardrobe item.
A Revolutionary Technology
While specialty socks for his size-28 feet can run at $20 per pair, shoes can be even more of a challenge when it comes to size and pain-relieving comfort. Amazingly, a revolutionary new technology has enabled a relatively affordable footwear option for Broc. The California-based company Feetz presented its services that can use 3-D printing to make shoes at about half the price, or less, than regular custom fits.
Given that confined spaces present a challenge for him, Broc and his mother recently took the approximately 1,000-mile flight from their home to Arkansas to visit a specialist who would deliver some of the most surprising news they’d heard in a long time!
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Although doctors had initially estimated that Broc Brown would have a short life, Dr. Schaefer gave him some of the best news of his life. Already having proving doctors wrong about his life expectancy, Broc’s prognosis was revisited by Dr. Schaefer who determined that he was out of life-threatening danger.
“Broc is easily the tallest man I have ever seen,” said Dr. Schaefer “Unfortunately, he will always have to deal with some form of pain, but I believe that he will now have a regular lifespan.” Now expected to live for many decades to come, Broc had a heart-melting response.
The Best Thing
As usual, the happy-go-lucky Broc Brown was able to look past the negatives and focus on the positives. “It’s the best thing I could have heard,” said an exuberant Brown. “I’m so happy that I will live for a long time.”
Looking to the Future
If Broc keeps growing at his average rate so-far of six inches a year, by the age of 21, he is expected to surpass the height of the world’s current tallest man – Turkey’s Sultan Kosen, who measures in at a towering 8-feet 2-inches.
A Huge Inspiration
“I hopefully want to work for a sporting goods store so something like that, a cashier or something,” Brown has admirably stated. “I just want to have my own job.” Along with that, Brown and his mother are looking forward to spending a long future together.
Out Of His Comfort Zone
For her part, his mother, Darci, doesn’t want to push him to do anything outside of his comfort zone. “I just hope he has a good life and is happy with everything he ever does,” the loving mother wishes for her beloved son.