Avery Becker Mahogany Workplace 12
World Views

Highlight a Hero: Avery Becker (Part One)

A note from Ben: The greatest stories aren’t always publicized or celebrated. The Mahogany Workplace wants to change that with our “Highlight a Hero” series. I don’t take the word “hero” lightly here. I’ve made a good friend who stands for everything heroes represent. He cares for the forgotten, loves unconditionally, brings light to dark situations, and fights the good fight — all while struggling with paralyzing pain. We’ve made many great memories together, and I want him to share his story with you. Everyone, meet Avery!

My name is Avery Becker. I love to write and sing, and most importantly I want to show the world what I can do. Sometimes people don’t think they can learn anything from a kid like me, and I’m going to prove them wrong. I’m proud of my life and who I am — the things I’ve fought for — and I want to help others by writing about what I’ve been through.

Despite being a 19-year-old guy who lives in Colorado, I have a lot of time on my hands because I’m sick a lot. I was born with something called Russell-Silver syndrome, a form of dwarfism characterized by slow growth. Doctors also diagnosed me with with a rare stomach and intestine disorder. All things considered, I basically grew up in the hospital.

When I was around two years old I was told I have an extra amount of eosinophils, which attack your nerves and cause a lot of problems. I’d get nauseous from my motility and stomach problems. Whenever I ate or drank I threw up. So, by the time I was four, I received a central line (an IV placed into your heart) to infuse nutrients and fat intravenously. This is how I eat.

When I was younger I was really tiny because of my Russell-Silver syndrome. My classmates looked like they could be my parents, and they always called me “baby” at school. No one thought I could talk because I was so painfully shy. During this time, the doctors didn’t check my blood sugar and I experienced a massive stroke.

No one thought I would live. They said even if I survived, I may never walk or talk again. But God was with me every moment and a miracle happened. My pastor and parents prayed that I would be okay, and I said, “Amen” at the end. My mom says that was the first word of my new life.

I think this could be why I am alive today; God wasn’t done with me yet — he had more plans for me.

I obviously wasn’t cured or I wouldn’t be sitting here in the hospital right now, but God gave me back my life. And I was just happy to receive a second chance. I learned to walk and talk, and I proved the doctors wrong.

Since then, I cannot possibly count all the surgeries and procedures I’ve experienced. I’ve gone to the hospital weekly if not daily for almost 19 years. Not too long ago doctors diagnosed me with another rare disease called Churg-Strauss syndrome (CSS), which mostly affects older people around 50-70. Clearly I’m not that old… yet!

For a kid, Churg-Strauss syndrome is super rare. (There are about 40 kids in the world who have CSS.) This autoimmune disease attacks my organs. So doctors put me on chemo drugs and experimental drugs to help. Unfortunately that means I don’t have an immune system, so I get sick often and still experience seizures.

Back to my proportional dwarfism… I got bullied quite a bit in middle school. One time a boy grabbed my neck and nearly strangled me. He told the principal he was just playing around, but he just wanted to make his friends laugh. Another kid pushed, pinched, and verbally bullied me a lot. I was always too short and skinny to fight back. In high school I didn’t encounter as many bullies, but I still felt insecure about how small I am.

Over time I learned that I can’t let people make me feel less confident. In the long run, height doesn’t matter; it’s your personality that makes you who you are. God made each of us, and we need to remember that our differences are what make us special. We need to be confident that we are incredibly made. Thank you for reading and for your support! Stay tuned for more from me next week.

By Avery Becker

Note from MW: Avery has an amazing perspective on life as do millions of others who are harmed by bullies. This week, try and engage someone who appears ignored or bullied in your sphere of influence. Then let us know how it goes! And leave an encouraging comment here for Avery, too.

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    L Smith
    September 26, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    I have been following Avery’s life story on FB via his mom via his aunt I believe.
    So many ups and downs, I’ve watched and prayed for his healing and for his family.
    At times I have felt their despair but always their hope shone through…the entire family’s non wavering
    faith in God has been a blessing and an inspiration to me and I’m sure many others they have no idea. God bless them all

  • Reply
    Ashley Mitchell
    September 26, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Hi Avery! You are indeed wonderfully made and so much more wise beyond your years. I enjoyed hearing about your story, resilience, and faith. Part of my heart aches for all you have had to endure, but the other half is so happy that a person like you is here to inspire others. Thank you for sharing your story on mahogany workplace, which is another example of how brave you are (because letting other people into your world and thoughts is never easy). Lots of well wishes to you, your family and friends, and your doctors from Georgia!!

  • Reply
    Ashley H.
    September 26, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Such an inspiring story! Thanks for being so open + willing to share your story! I’m a nurse, and I work with children who suffer from gastrointestinal illnesses and let me just say- y’all are some brave people, way beyond your age in maturity from growing up around a hospital! Sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers your way, Avery! You’re going to make such a difference in peoples’ lives! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mariah Grace
    September 26, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Reading Avery’s story and testimony is so moving. He truly is an angel and miracle here on a earth. He has so much worth and so much purpose and he said it right , God certainly was not done with him yet. I just know God has so much in store for that precious angel! His heart is so pure and he truly is a light! I would love to meet Avery. Being a singer and writer and worship leader I strive to always share those gifts and serve and inspire people. I would love to visit and sing with him sometime. He is inspiring and truly a hero!!

    All the best,

    Mariah

  • Reply
    Will Van der horn
    September 26, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    so proud of you Avery! Hero , Fighter and an incredible person💟💕💗💞💋

  • Reply
    Amy D Higgins
    September 26, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Avery it was such a treat to hear from you on the blog! You are an amazing young man. Can’t wait for you to share more of your story. Say hello to your mother for me.
    Mama Higgins

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    September 26, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Avery,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s people like you who encourage others to think, act & be kind to others because that is truly the only way to experience joy. You are an inspiration & I feel blessed to have read your truth. Keep sharing! 🙂

  • Reply
    Allie D
    September 26, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Avery,

    First of all, I love your name! But that’s not the only reason why I am commenting :). Thank you for sharing your story! It is so evident how kind your heart is as well as the immense strength of your spirit. Although you have faced tough trials, I admire how beautifully you have used them to inspire others. Keep on writing and singing, I have A VERY (get it? 😉 ) big feeling God has an amazing plan for you!

  • Reply
    Morgan
    September 26, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Avery, thank you so much for being so open to sharing what you are going through, and all that you have gone through. I saw this article from Ben Higgins page. I also saw your instagram, and I saw that you recently graduated. I, too, just graduated. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to graduate when you have so many obstacles, and that is an amazing accomplishment! Sometimes I truly take for granted my health, and there is really no excuse for it. I really appreciate you sharing your story because it is incredibly inspiring! Keep on being as positive as you can, and keep on singing!

  • Reply
    Zoe
    September 26, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Hey Avery I just saw the link to your story so I thought I would check it out by reading this I have learned more about what God can do in our lives thank you for sharing your story with all of us you have inspired me to take a stand against bullying and stick up for others thank you your a real hero and I can see God working through you in so many ways

  • Reply
    Julia
    September 26, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Thank you Avery for sharing your life story with the world. You are a brave and wise soul for only 19 years old! Thank you for being bold and taking the stance to help others. The light of the Lord shines through you and your words are encouraging for all walks of life. I learned truth from your story, and I know others will too. May God bless you always. You are in my prayers.

  • Reply
    Nicole Scott
    September 27, 2017 at 12:16 am

    Stories of fighters like you are the reason I’m in school to become a nurse!❤️ Keep fighting, keep encouraging others, keep spreading positivity, and keep on being a hero, Avery! 💪🏼

  • Reply
    Lora Sullivan
    September 27, 2017 at 5:57 am

    Hi Avery! I think you are the wisest, strongest guy on the planet. Even while you were going through your own illness I remember what a great friend you were to Kreed. You are kind and loving and really a terrific writer! One of the best. I have two great boys on the autism spectrum so my outside world of friends is on FB. I am very proud to call you my friend. We want to visit CO someday. When we do I would love to visit you. Keep writing and keep being the beautiful angel you are. I love you and God Bless you!! Lora Sullivan

  • Reply
    Carrie D.
    September 27, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Avery, you are awesome!! I always love reading what you have to say! And I agree, you are a hero!

  • Reply
    Kaley
    September 27, 2017 at 6:39 am

    Avery, you are an inspiration! I can only hope to have the amount of fight in me that you do every day. I’m so proud of you!

  • Reply
    Chelsea Melohusky
    September 27, 2017 at 8:23 am

    I look forward to hearing from you next week! Thank you for sharing your story! I truly believe each of us has a purpose. Sending hugs and love, peace and prayer!

    Chelsea Melohusky

  • Reply
    Ericka
    September 27, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Avery,

    You have an amazing prospective and such a positive attitude! If I am half as positive as you I will be doing alright! You really are a one of a kind . I pray for peace and some healing for you! Have a blessed day!!

  • Reply
    Hannah Kisla
    September 27, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Hi Avery! I am so grateful I stumbled upon your story today, you are truly an inspiration, a warrier, a HERO. Despite what you have been through and continue to struggle with, you don’t let it define you! I love how fearlessly you express your love for God and His purpose for you! Hold on to that kid and please continue to share your story! God may have made you small but He blessed you with a heart of gold! 💛💛💛 Hannah

  • Reply
    Beverly Fox
    September 27, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Avery. I just read your story , you are a handsome young man and certainly a warrior. God is with you and has a plan for you to witness. You certainly have uplifted me today. Sending love and prayers. Granma Fox

  • Reply
    Allison S
    October 9, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    I don’t know you personally, but feel extremely hopeful and blessed that there are people like YOU Avery in this world. Blessings to you ❤️❤️❤️

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