Tiny Tot With No Cerebellum Is An Inspiration, Not A Tragedy

Feb 24, 2011
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This little boy is so much more than a medical miracle. Born prematurely, legally blind, and missing his cerebellum – the part of the brain that controls motor skills, emotions and balance – 3-year-old Chase Britton is a wonderful example of the power of human spirit. He also was born without a pons – the part of the brain stem which regulates breathing and sleeping.

Chase is learning to walk, baffling his neurologists who claimed it was “impossible” since Chase “has the MRI of a vegetable,” reported AOL. He is clearly not a vegetable, forcing medical experts to rethink how the brain works.

Last fall, Chase started attending a specialized preschool three days a week. His teacher Sharon Schultz at CHC Learning Center in Williamsville, N.Y., told WGRZ, “I’m in awe of him every day. Things that, based on that diagnosis, he should not be able to do, he is doing. I mean, walking up and down the hall, riding a bike, holding a pencil or a pen to work on projects, using scissors.”

Chase’s mom, Heather Britton told AOL News, “We call him the Little Gremlin. He loves to play tricks on people. His goal in life is to make people smile.”

His father, David Britton, talked about his son’s extraordinary drive to keep trying, keep succeeding. “He’s got drive like I’ve never seen.”

Chase and his parents are both greatly inspiring. The Britton family had their hearts broken before when another son who was only 4-weeks old died on the day he was scheduled to receive a liver transplant. The parents were thrilled when Chase was conceived.

His mom said, “People could view this as a tragic story. But that depends on how you look at life. You can be angry or you can appreciate what you have been given. Chase was meant to be with us.”

She added, “Don’t give up on your kids. Don’t believe everything the doctors say. Don’t get me wrong. I love doctors. But they can be wrong. Chase is extremely healthy. And he’s extremely smart — his motor skills just haven’t caught up.”

As Secondhand Smoke’s Wesley Smith wrote, “But the moral of the story is that all of us should be treated as fully human, no matter how dire our seeming circumstances.  And sometimes there is no suppressing the power of human will, and if you will, what is often called the human spirit.”

Image Credit: NBC

Author: Tessa

  • Anonymous

    I never really thought about it like that before. Makes pretty good sense.


  • Butt

    being realistic, these people need to realize that they have poor DNA. When you have 1 child that is born in poor health and needs a liver at 4 weeks and then you bring another child into the world with more problems. Some people shouldn’t be merging bad cells.

  • Susan Cohen

    Wow, “butt” has chosen an appropriate moniker for the kind of comment he/she has decided to leave.

    This world is a beautiful place, filled with all kinds of people. Not only do all people have the right to have children, but these parents are making this world a better place by advocating for their child and teaching others that ALL people can succeed and accomplish things. Chase is an amazing kid and I am really glad that I read this story about him.

  • Shocked

    I am shocked at the insensitivity, narrow-mindedness, and elitest attitude of your comment and am not even sure it deserves a response. I hope you are not currently a parent, nor do I ever hope you become one.

  • Voice of Reason

    That was exactly what I was thinking. And if/when this poor child expires, they will probably try again. Time to adopt.

  • Pragma

    I’m a parent and I agree with Butt. Human beings generally try to avoid constructing bridges and high rises using faulty steel, for obvious reasons. It follows that the genetic foundation of future generations should not rest upon flawed infrastructure. It’s not insensitive nor is it elitist, it’s pragmatic and should be evident to anyone capable of thinking beyond sentimentality.

  • wavyman

    at that age the brain can adapt. It’s not surprising that another part of the brain not normally used for those functions have picked up the slack.

  • wavyman

    He is an amazing kid. That doesn’t mean Butt is wrong. His statement is correct. only A$$HOLE’s would have kids if they know there DNA produces children like this. There are ton’s of unwanted healthy baby’s looking for homes. These people need to be fixed, so it doesn’t happen again

  • Pragma

    As a postscript, so I’m not construed as a totally insensitive dick, now that the little guy is here he absolutely deserves the richest life available to him. I just wish we could get past our cultural egomania and relinquish the belief that humans don’t need to exercise self restraint when it comes to breeding. It’s a free for all that we’re going to pay dearly for millenia from now if we’re not careful.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/best-sat-prep-books-sat-test-prep-books SAT Books

    I wonder how he goes through his day. I think I’m going to look this guy up, see if there is anything on YouTube. Its interesting.

  • Medical Student

    Instead of everyone looking at this in terms of natural selection, maybe gifts such as children who are like Chase, or any other disabled child, are reminders for us to appreciate life. They are gifts to us to learn patience, understanding, acceptance and a big humbling for those of us who give up easily. Who are we to say that children who are “disabled” do not deserve to be created and allowed to live.

  • Angus

    Another thing butt if your logic prevails people like Stephen Hawking wouldn’t be around who is one of the greatest minds on the planet and his contribution to mankind is unmeasureable. Albert Einstein had A.D.D. should he have not been born either? The measure of a man is not what he is incapable of but what he is capable of and this child who can walk and live and breathe when medical science says he should not even be alive is living proof.

  • Biomedical Grad Student

    agreed. perhaps “Butt” is the one that should not procreate. If he/she feels that children who have a disability should not be brought into this world, then we don’t need any of his/her genes being passed on either. I’d rather have a more compassionate and understanding future society than one that is spawned from ignorance, lack of compassion and narrow-mindedness.

    The health of a liver or any other disability is not only due to the genetics of the parents. Many factors come into play biologically that could have stemmed from mutations.

  • What

    i’m less surprised by the fact that he can walk than that he can BREATHE? how is that possible without a pons? i didn’t think it was even possible to live without a cerebellum…

  • Kelsey

    You are obviously entitled to your opinion, but I hope you know that there are some people out there who are hurt by people who say things like that. I was born with a disability, and have 3 brothers and sisters who were not. I am extremely thankful that my parents didn’t think like you do. Although I have a disability, I couldn’t be happier. I am proud of my disability and it makes me who I am.

  • Beef

    Stephen Hawking wasn’t born with a disability. He has a disease related to Lou Gehrig’s disease.

  • BobLujano

    In the end, all human life is invaluable. It should not be discarded or even prevented from happening.