“His lengthening spine would lead to paraplegia”
It is not normal for a child to experience chronic back and leg pain, but that has been Hunter’s reality since birth when he was diagnosed with deformities of the spine. Hunter has congenital vertical talus of his left foot and a tethered spinal cord. A vertical talus means that Hunter’s foot turns outward, creating a rigid flat foot where the foot’s arch curves downward and out like the bottom of a rocking chair. Due to his conditions, it is very painful when Hunter walks. Hemihypertrophy is a rare disorder in which one side of the body grows more than the other, causing asymmetry. This puts Hunter at an increased risk for abdominal tumors.
Hunter has had multiple lower extremity procedures to correct his foot to be able to walk normally and pain-free. He has also undergone extensive testing for doctors to even be able to diagnose a tethered spinal cord. Surgical treatment is often needed to prevent neurological deterioration, and the spinal cord is either freed from the tethering structure or the tethering object is removed during surgery. If left untreated, Hunter’s spine would continue to lengthen as he grows which could lead to paraplegia, paralysis of the legs and pelvic organs. This would also make Hunter lose bowel and bladder function.
Currently, Hunter is having a fatty cyst removed from the filum on his spinal cord. Once the surgery is performed, Hunter will have to remain flat on his back for 3 days and in the hospital for several days after that. According to his nominating Child Life Specialist, Abby, Hunter is a “bright and energetic” boy who is always “polite, kind, and helpful.” He has a “great attitude despite setbacks” and is “a good example of what positive attitudes can accomplish,” Abby continued.
Kids Wish Network and Shriners Hospital for Children – Twin Cities would like to honor Hunter’s bravery and strength by recognizing him as a Hero of the Month! Congratulations, Hunter!