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Utah boy born with hydrocephalus beating the odds


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Every day, Carter Shields defies the odds. Doctors predicted his brain was so damaged before birth that he would have no quality of life, but he is thriving.

Carter's struggles began two years ago when his mother, Lara Shields, was five-months pregnant. Her doctor told her the baby boy she was carrying had a tumor, which would cause fluid to collect around his brain -- the medical term is hydrocephalus. As a result, his head would be twice the normal size.

"He said, ‘We should terminate him as soon as possible.' And our world crashed," Lara said.

Lara and her husband, Eric, said no to an abortion. In the first five weeks of his life, Carter had six brain surgeries and his heart stopped twice. Now a permanent shunt helps drain the fluid.

Doctors then told his parents he would never see, hear, talk or walk. At 19-months-old, Carter does all of those and continues to defy the doctors' predictions by meeting all of his developmental milestones so far.

"They're pretty baffled that he's doing as good as he's doing. He's still gonna have trials, he's still gonna have surgeries, but in the overall picture he's doing great," Eric said.

"This is a blessing, and he was meant to come to our family; and we fell very, very honored to be his parents," Lara said.

Carter has inspired his older brother, who hopes to become a vision specialist for children with disabilities.

"We've explained to everyone that he's not a miracle. He's a blessing in every way, shape and form," his brother Jordan said.

The Shields say they will do everything to help Carter succeed. They believe he will touch many people's lives.

Family and friends are getting together for a special fundraising golf tournament for Carter, Aug. 1. If you would like information, visit golf4carter.blogspot.com.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

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Carole Mikita

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