2-year-old Calli before she was diagnosed with Growth Hormone Deficiency

Here is the story:

Jan Chambers knew something was wrong with her child when 2-year-old Calli looked and weighed the same as a 9-month-old child. After much frustration and extensive testing, doctors diagnosed Calli with Growth Hormone Deficiency. Her child was then forced to take daily injections to help her grow. Doctors told Jan that “Calli produces almost no growth hormone on her own.”

Frustrated and scared, Jan patiently waited for her child to begin the process of growing. 1,460 injections later and thanks to the treatment, Callie has almost grown 14 inches and gained nearly 23 pounds in four years. After learning about her daughters condition, she decided to join the Major Aspects of Growth in Children (MAGIC) Foundation. She is now the regional representative and has hosted a charity “walk” event every year. She has raised nearly $45,000 through donations from friends, family and businesses. According to their website, the MAGIC Foundation is a national non-profit organization that provides services to children afflicted with disorders, syndromes and diseases that affect a child’s growth. The foundation seeks to reduce the emotional and physical trauma caused by the growth disorders in children. They have been successful in providing education to parents and physicians and work to bring families together for support and comfort.

As a result of Calli’s condition, Jan found comfort in helping others suffering from this condition. The foundation is something the Chambers family is greatly thankful to be connected to, “we are so thankful to know why she wasn’t growing and that we are able to get the medicine she needs,” said Jan. “My family has been blessed with amazing friends and family and the best doctors,” giving thanks to those who have help support them through the process.

Calli’s Endocrinologist is extremely pleased with her growth. Since beginning the growth hormone at the age of 2, Calli has now grown 13 3/4 inches and has gained 22 1/2 pounds. On the growth charts, she is now in the 25 percent range for her age range on weight and height. Calli continues with her shots six times a week and she will continue those shots till she is 16 years old. The Chambers family feels compelled to continue to work with the MAGIC Foundation and would like to help other families.


Calli and her family at Disney Land in August of 2010

Calli and her family’s struggle is inspiring many other families to deal with difficult roads ahead when suffering with the Growth Hormone Deficiency. Many children are left untreated and struggle to live with this condition. It takes a special family to step up and tell their story, so awareness is gained on this issue. We must help others and stand tall together.

While Living Victoriously!


Overview about “Growth Hormone Deficiency” from A.D.A.M. (see reference material below):

The alternative names for the condition is Pituitary dwarfism; acquired growth hormone deficiency; isolated growth hormone deficiency; Congenital growth hormone deficiency; and Panhypopituitarism.

The Causes of the disorder is found when a person does not produce enough growth hormone. Growth hormone is produced in the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain. The condition can be present at birth (congenital) or has been found to develop as a result of injury or a medical condition. A pediatrician can typically plot a child’s growth on what is known as a “growth curve” standardized growth chart. The growth range can be anywhere from flat (no growth) to very shallow (minimal growth). It is very uncommon, but growth hormone deficiency has been found in adults diagnosed with tumors, cancer and head injury.

Children who have problems with growth hormone deficiency often show slow or flat rate growth; usually only growing less than 2 inches per year. Growth typically doesn’t appear until the child is 2 or 3 years old. Children with the condition still have normal body proportions and normal intelligence; however, the face often appears younger than children of the same age. Some often have a chubby body build. Depending on the cause, older children with the condition often hit puberty later in life or not at all.

Physical examination will show signs of slow growth rate; when considering weight, height and body proportions. A hand x-ray, of typically the left hand, can show changes and patterns as a child grows older. The x-ray can determine the bone age and help with diagnosis. A child’s pediatrician often explores the causes of poor health related to:

– Test for Insulin-like growth factor (IGF1) and binding protein 3 (IGFBP3). Tests can measure for these growth factors.
– Stimulation test that accurately tests for several hours and measures the level of growth hormone (GH) in the blood after you receive medication that triggers the release of GH, such as arginine or GH-releasing hormone. This test is administered through IV and is usually placed in a vein that is typically located inside of the elbow or on the back of the hand.
– MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a test that creates pictures of the body through the use of powerful magnets and radio waves. This test does not use radiation.
– Lack of growth hormone may not be the only problem, so other tests may be done to measure other hormone levels.

Treatment often involves growth hormone injections that are administered at home by the patient once per day. Serious side effects are rare; though, common side effects are: headache, fluid retention, muscle/joint aches, and slippage of the bones at the hip.

The earlier the condition is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chances the child grows to be near-normal adult height. Growth hormone replacement therapy results very, but many children grow 4 or more inches in the first year and 3 or more inches in the next 2 years. The rate of growth improvement slowly decreases in the remaining years.

If left untreated, growth hormone deficiency can lead to short stature and possibly delayed puberty in teenage years. CALL your health care provider if your child is experiencing signs of this condition. Most causes are not preventable. Evaluation by a specialist is recommended if growth rate is dropping or a child’s projected adult height is not the average height of both parents.


Notes & References:


Parks JS, Felner EI. Hypopituitarism. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 551.
Review Date: 5/7/2012
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix. Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine (8/2/2011).

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