By Jill Glavan
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 24, 2014) - A teenager with a form of a rare condition called gigantism needs help finding shoes for the new school year, since his feet have grown so big.
Like any big sister, Brandy Ellinger wants the world for her younger brother Dakota Deal. Lately, though, she's just wanted something simple.
"They're just hard to find," Ellinger said.
She's talking about Dakota's shoes. A small part of life for most of us, shoes have become a big problem for him. Diagnosed with a rare form of gigantism, his bones don't stop growing and at just 13 years old, he's a size 20, 4E width.
That's close to Shaquille O'Neal, at size 23, and bigger than even the Pacers' Roy Hibbert.
"When we do find them, they last for three or four months and he just goes through them fast," Ellinger said.
At Decatur Middle School, Dakota's teacher Jenny Gaston sees his size affect him from day-to-day.
"You don't really notice how his stature affects him in the classroom until you can't put him in a regular seat because his legs don't fit under the table," Gaston said.
So, the school got him better seating and even a new keyboard for his bigger hands.
As for Dakota himself, in some ways he has learned to accept his size. That's especially true in his love of football and wrestling.
"John Cena's my favorite and I want to be just like him," Dakota said.
When it comes to fitting in at his age it's not always easy, though.
"(Kids) would say a rude comment like, 'Hey big foot,' and I wouldn't like it," Dakota said.
That's even more reason Ellinger is hoping someone will help her find a place to get Dakota some cool new shoes that he can show off this school year. They'd be a little piece of normalcy for a kid with a big heart.
"He doesn't want to be called big, you know, he just wants to fit in," Ellinger said.
"It would mean the whole world to me," Dakota said.
If you think you can help, email reporter Jill Glavan at jglavan(at)fox59.com.
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