MISSOURI VALLEY (KPTM)- Imagine being a new parent and being told your baby boy will only live for one year. Now imagine that same baby boy about to graduate from high school 18 years later. That's a real life story of a Dunlap High School student who proved his doctors wrong.
Quincy Eickholt has an extremely rare genetic disorder.
When he was born he had club foot, his soft spot on his head was in the wrong place, he couldn't move his neck because the muscles were so tight, and he had many facial abnormalities.
Quincy was admitted to Childrens Hosptial, where a team of specialists ran dozens of tests.
"The week that he was there, they told us, don't expect much out of Quincy, don't expect him to walk, don't expect him to talk, don't expect him to eat solid foods. He had failure to thrive, don't expect him to live past a year," Paula Eichort said. "They just gave us the worst case scenario."
He's had 19 surgeries.But it took 16 years for doctors to find out what is wrong. Quincy has an unusual disease called 3p deletion syndrome. There are only 8 cases ever documented.
"Each day that we have with him, is another good day."
It's a combination of good days that have helped Quincy develop a vocabulary, use sign language and walk at his high school graduation. Family and friends say he's an inspiration
"He does put a smile on everybody's face. I've walked out at the end of the day had the worst day where you're stuck in meetings or whatever and he's always got a smile and a hug," Traci Chapin with Crossroads of Western Iowa said.
At Crossroads of Western Iowa, Quincy has the opportunity to live a normal life. He holds a job and even gets a paycheck."
"Quincy works a lot with our recycling program when the big phone books come in those can't just be recycled, they have to be broken down. So while most people would think that tearing paper out of a phone book all day is pretty boring, he gets paid to do that."
In October Quincy will turn 20. His mother says his fight to live has taught her many valuable life lessons.
"We can't live each day thinking well I could've done this, why shouldn't I have done this, because we can't go back and change it. We have to live each day for that day."
Quincy will graduate on May 19th. After that he plans to continue his work at the Crossroads of Western Iowa.