Hometown: 
West Branch, Iowa

Concerned about his small stature, Andrew Niles' pediatrician at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital referred his parents, Kristin and Travis, to specialists for tests shortly before his first birthday.

Ul geneticists found that he was born with Chromosome 4 ring syndrome, where the ends of the chromosome are deleted and the two broken ends have rejoined to form a ring shape. Chromosome 4 ring syndrome can cause a range of physical problems.  In Andrew's case, it caused his small stature.

Andrew was lucky. The test to determine his genetic disorder had only become available in 2007, the year he was born. In fact, their doctors could only find a record of one other child with the same defect.

"The test can determine how much genetic material is missing, which can help the doctors plan future treatments," says Kristin.

His parents are grateful for the knowledge and support given to them by their physicians, who include his pediatrician, as well as specialists in genetics, endocrinology, ophthalmology, and pediatric growth issues.

"The doctors, nurses, and support staff have always been exceptional.  They help us in any way they can while working hard on trying to figure out how to get Andrew to grow," Kristin says. "We are incredibly appreciative of all that they have done."

Adds Travis, "I was a little concerned  at first, but the doctors did an excellent  job explaining  everything and making you feel really welcome right when you walk in the door."

While Andrew has undergone a great deal in his young life, his parents are proud that he is developing normally and is on track developmentally.  "It's all so new that the doctors are following his development and looking for ways to help him grow."

Andrew may be small for his age, but he makes up for it in other ways. "He has a big personality," says Kristin, "he always has!" Travis adds, "He's just our little guy." He and his older brother, Hunter wrestle and play just like any set of brothers.

The entire Niles family is grateful to Ul Children's Hospital for its role in helping their son stay healthy. "There's no better children's hospital. Everyone there will bend over backwards to help us out and solve whatever problems your child may have," Kristin says. The staff, nurses, and doctors are phenomenal. Period."

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