Miracle Stories

Corbin Foster: 2005

Oto palatal digital syndrome

All parents think their children are unique. And they are. But sometimes a child's uniqueness can be a trial of survival. Such is the case for Corbin Foster, of Big Spring.

Corbin was born with oto palatal digital syndrome (OPD), a rare syndrome that primarily is found in male children. At the time of his birth at Shannon Medical Center, Corbin was one of nine people diagnosed in the United States and he was one of only four who have survived. Most children with OPD die before age 5; Corbin is 10 and going strong.

"Corbin was born with 14 birth anomalies," says Sheila, his mother. "They ranged from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. When he was born, they wouldn't let me hold him, so I knew something wasn't right. We were not anticipating any problems with Corbin; we were really surprised."

The syndrome's characteristics range from hearing loss to skeletal abnormalities to problems with fingers and toes. Corbin's OPD has resulted in hearing difficulties; problems with internal cleft palate; paralyzed vocal chords; and abnormalities with his fingers and toes, which has required surgery. Additionally, Corbin's bones are weakened, increasing the chances for injury. In fact, a playground accident in December 2004 required Corbin to wear a body cast for six weeks to repair a broken leg.

Through all his hospitalizations, Corbin continues to be an easy-going kid, Sheila says. He has weathered surgeries, spinal taps, broken legs and diagnostic testing. He has prevailed and beaten the odds.

"He wasn't supposed to be here," Sheila says. "Our faith is strong, and we knew that God would give us only what we could take. He has done the same for Corbin. We have been taught patience and have been made to realize through Corbin's struggles that we can do anything. Corbin has taught me that I can do a lot more than I thought I could."

Today, Corbin spends time with his dad, Mark, sister Amanda (who is a brat, he says), and his school and church friends. Reading is a passion, especially mysteries. And, as with most young boys, video games are high on the list.

"He has survived longer than anyone else with OPD," Sheila says. "We can only imagine what is in store for him."

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