Show Me That Smile

It was an ordinary afternoon in the lunch room of a Rochester, New York, elementary school, and all Ryan wanted to do was eat an apple like his classmates.

Instead, the lunch room aide came over with a paring knife and cut the second-grader’s fruit into small pieces he could manage with his toothless mouth. No matter how subtle she tried to be, it didn’t prevent Ryan from being seen as “other,” different from the norm, by his peers.

“Hypophosphatasia” is a word most adults, let alone second-graders, have trouble pronouncing in their first few attempts. For Ryan, the soft-bone disorder’s complicated name has been the not-so-subtle soundtrack to his 16 years of life. Thanks to a treatment developed by researchers at Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis, that life has become much more full and active.

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