By: Jenn Schanz
You wouldn't guess by looking at him, but curious toddler Carter Hertzel spends a lot of time at doctors appointments.
Along with his older brother Zander, Carter has a series of undiagnosed, rare medical problems, one of them being he just can't grow.
At two–years–old, he only weighs 20 pounds, still able to fit in infant clothing.
He has problems with his kidneys, regulating body temperature, core strength, and dehydration, making the summer months especially challenging.
His mom Angie says despite an uphill battle, Carter's like any other toddler.
"I don't know if it's because he's known all of his life, but he doesn't seem to be in any pain. So he's....he's Carter. he's happy."
After cross country visits to hospitals and specialists, the Hertzels are returning to the National Institute of Health in Maryland at the end of the month.
They've been accepted into the Undiagnosed Disease Program for both Carter and Zander.
8-year-old Zander has a less severe version of Carter's condition, but has recently stopped responding to his kidney medication.
"Nobody wants to lose a kid, you know, and it's hard enough to have one sick kid, but when you have two....it makes it....it's hard," says Angie.
Despite the emotional and financial strain, Angie's husband Michael says working as a team helps get them through.
"We just kind of take it day by day and you know, that's all you can do really," he says.
Angie and Michael say they aren't banking on a diagnosis to come out of the boy's visit to NIL, but they hope to get answers to help with their symptoms.
If you'd like to learn more about Carter's journey, visit his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PrayingForAnswersForBabyCarter
Donations can be made at any Union Bank to the Carter Hertzel Fund.