Ernest Brown doesn’t really understand yet why he’s doing the impossible, but he does it every day and with a giving heart.
The 4-year-old has achondroplasia, better known as dwarfism. At exactly 3 feet tall and weighing nearly 40 pounds, he isn’t supposed to be alive, breathe or walk unaided, but he’s beat it all so far.
“He’s built like a little man,” said his grandmother Myra Paula Edgar Brown. She, along with his parents Sandia Brown Davis and Ernest Davis Jr., are former longtime residents of Destrehan who recently moved to LaPlace, but that has not changed their devotion to Ernest.
“He’s a loving, caring child,” Brown said. “He has a heart of gold.”
Like his favorite Biblical figure, Moses, Ernest has been parting the waters – even before his birth.
As a fetus, doctors advised his parents abort the child when he was diagnosed with a disease that afflicts an estimated 1 out of 50,000 people, according to his grandmother.
“We don’t believe in abortions,” Brown said. “Sandia’s faith told to trust in God in all things.”
They disregarded the doctors, but were also told it was unlikely he would survive the birth.
On May 30, 2013, Ernest was born by cesarean section weighing almost 9 pounds with the larger head characteristic with dwarfism. He was rushed to a neonatal intensive care unit where he stayed three days and the family waited for the grim news.
Following more doctor visits and testing, the doctors told them Ernest would not be able to walk without devices. They were also told he had a hole in his heart that would require surgery.
But then the waters parted again for Ernest.
“The heart, believe it or not, through prayer, repaired on its own,” Brown said. “The doctor confirmed he wouldn’t need the surgery.”
Then they were told the his lungs wouldn’t work enough for him to breath on his own and would need a breathing machine. But Grandma Brown said he’s breathing independently now, although he’s seasonably asthmatic.
On Oct. 14, 2014, Ernest amazed doctors again when he walked on his own without devices or assistance. Brown said he waddles like a duck on his short legs, but it’s a beautiful sight to see him running.
And, still, the child continues in “conquering the waters.”
Although his favorite word is “help” these days, Brown said they are determined to provide him with all he needs to be independent. She had a special “throne” made for the toilet that fits him well, and she’s asked for help in designing a bicycle that will fit Ernest’s smaller stature so he can ride like other kids. They’re also trying to get furniture made that he can access without assistance.
Ernest is wholeheartedly on the same track.
“He is very outgoing, loving,” Brown said. “He loves to give power fists and hugs, and tells you, ‘I love you.’ Every morning and every night, he says, ‘I love you, mum mum.’”Ernest’s future promises still more milestones.
In August of last year, at age 3, he started pre-K3 school and with people who could help him work through his disabilities.
Brown believes her grandson’s passion for watching his uncle fix vehicles could lead to him becoming a mechanic, too. But she isn’t hesitant to add that he could be the nation’s “future little president” either.
Even on the challenging days, they stay focused on the positive.
When he came home one day saying people commented on his large head, Brown lovingly replied, “And you have a big heart, too, and it’s not empty. It’s full of love.”
And is lovable, according to Brown.
“He just loves everything about Moses like parting the Red Sea,” she said. “He has a figurine of Moses and goes to sleep with it at night. He figures these are things he’s doing, too … to make it in life.”
Brown said Ernest told her Moses could walk in the water and never got tired, as well as his faith is his strength. She said he also knows “that with his type of faith that he can do all the impossible things.”