“Extreme Makeover” of House for Boy with Brittle Bones

Patrick Sharrock is a happy little guy who you just want to squeeze, he’s so charming. But be careful, squeezing too tightly could break his bones! The 9-year old was born with a bone disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), often called “brittle bone disease.” He was diagnosed because he was born with two broken legs, just from kicking inside the womb! In last night’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which was a rebroadcast of an episode from May,  the EMHE crew, lead by Ty Pennington, came to remodel the house that Patrick’s family refers to as a “Danger Zone.” According to the  Rossville Georgia family, Patrick has already broken 59 bones and  almost all of them happened inside their house. But Patrick has an amazing spirit as well as a huge comic book collection from which he gathers inspiration. His father, Michael, says:

Patrick, in a way, is a superhero. He has this magical ability to just pull joy out of anybody.

The Extreme Makeover team remodeled the house with soft cork floors, wheelchair accessible rooms, an indoor pool for physical therapy,  and even a superhero class room where Patrick can receiving his homeschooling. In addition, Patrick and his family also got to meet child star Atticus Shaffer, from the show, The Middle. Atticus also has OI, although he has  a milder form of the disease.

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a genetic disorder in which bones break easily. Sometimes the bones break for no known reason. OI can also cause weak muscles, brittle teeth, a curved spine and hearing loss. The cause is a gene defect that affects how you make collagen, a protein that helps make bones strong. Usually you inherit the faulty gene from a parent. Sometimes, it is due to a mutation, a random gene change.

OI can range from mild to severe and symptoms vary from person to person. A person may have just a few or as many as several hundred fractures in a lifetime. There is no cure, but you can manage symptoms. Treatments include exercise, pain medicine, physical therapy, wheelchairs, braces and surgery.

For more information about Osteogenesis Imperfecta, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.

I think Patrick is an inspiring little boy. He tries to live his life as fully as possible, and doesn’t see himself as “disabled.” He volunteers at the local museum and talks to children’s groups about his disease. I wish him the best in his new home!

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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