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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The summer before Seth Barton’s freshman year of high school, he needed a routine physical exam.
“Both of my kids were sitting on the exam table, and our doctor walked in the room and almost immediately was like, ‘Hey, there’s a problem here,'” remembers Seth’s mother, Jodie.
Their local doctor noticed that Seth was shorter and weighed less than his sister, Amilia, who is three years younger.
“When he first started the growth hormone treatments, we were so excited that there was hope. You think your kid’s going to struggle his whole life because he’s small and he looks different, so we were excited to know we could do something about this.”
Seth had just turned 15, but an X-ray of the growth plates in his hand revealed that his growth was at that of an 11-year-old.
He was occasionally picked on throughout elementary school and junior high for his small size, but Seth didn’t think much of it. He loved playing football and did so despite being smaller than some of the other kids on the field.
“In junior high, they would have to find football equipment from the younger kids to fit him, and he would run down the football field adjusting his pads. His helmet would fall down,” says Jodie. “It was crazy to watch him, but he loved it. He wanted to do it, so he was out there.”
Once Seth got to high school, however, his smaller stature became more noticeable, and it began to significantly affect his confidence and self-esteem. Seth began to withdraw from his schoolwork and activities, and he became depressed.
The Bartons were referred to University of Iowa Children’s Hospital pediatric endocrinologist Vanessa Curtis, MD, who introduced Seth to a growth hormone regimen.
“I cannot say enough about Dr. Curtis,” says Jodie. “I felt like Seth was her kid, too, and she was excited as we were through his treatment.”
Before starting his growth hormone treatment, Seth was 4’7″ and weighed 64 pounds.
“When he first started the growth hormone treatments, we were so excited that there was hope,” says Jodie. “You think your kid’s going to struggle his whole life because he’s small and he looks different, so we were excited to know we could do something about this.”
For two years, he endured daily hormone injections. Despite the uncomfortable shots, Seth didn’t give up.
“He hated them so badly, but he stuck with it and he did it every night,” says Jodie. “When we ended his treatment he was 5’4″ and weighed 111 pounds.”
Seth has made huge strides in just a few years. He is now happier and more confident than he has been in a long time. And as far as his parents are concerned, the sky’s the limit for their easygoing teenage son.
“He’ll succeed in whatever he wants to accomplish,” says Seth’s father, Troy.
“He has a heart of gold, and he’s a lot stronger than he thinks he is,” adds Jodie.
Seth has noticed a difference in himself, as well, and he is thankful for the impact his care team has made on his life.
“I think the medical team at the University of Iowa is amazing,” says Seth. “I am beyond happy for what they’ve been able to do for me.”
To watch Seth’s story, click HERE.
To learn more about the Kid Captain program, click HERE.