Roman Dinkel, 2, is the new social media star for a good reason: he continues to defy the odds against him.
The charming toddler from Kansas is born with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess water builds up within the ventricles of the brain. New research suggests it can be due to an ion transporter called NKCC1.
He also has a rare condition called spina bifida. It is a neural tube defect that happens when the closing of the spinal cord membrane and backbone becomes underdeveloped. It can lead to the loss of sensation of the lower limbs such as the legs and feet, so they are not able to move them. With the help of his crutches, Roman did.
The Facebook Superstar
Adam and Whitney Dinkel, Roman's parents, have been sharing his progress on their Facebook page called Defying the Odds: Roman's Journey. It also serves as an information page for those who want to learn more about spina bifida.
Started only two years ago, it now has over 345,000 subscribers who seemingly can't get enough of the little boy's spirited personality.
An 8-month-old video of Roman walking with his red crutches while catching up and talking with the family dog Maggie already received at least 25 million views. It also has 560,000 shares and 65,000 comments.
The boy, however, seems unaware of his online superstar status.
"He doesn't have a clue [that he's famous]. I told him and he just doesn't care. He's very outgoing, he's spunky, he's got a great personality," said Whitney in an interview with PEOPLE.
His parents find other people's interest on the Facebook page and the little boy overwhelming since they are now seeing a part of the family's private life. Nevertheless, they are still excited about the prospect of educating more people about the condition.
The Fight Isn't Over
Roman currently lives and acts like any healthy child. After learning how to use the walker, he is now running, walking, and playing with the help of his crutches. He already visited Disneyland and is also going to school and learning how to ride a bike. For his parents, these abilities provide the little one the opportunity to become more independent.
Roman's fight isn't over, however. Anything can still happen, so the parents cannot take any pain or symptom lightly.
"As parents we have to continue to check the boxes and be like 'Is this a normal kid thing? Or is this a hydrocephalus thing? Or is this a spina bifida thing,'" Adam told on CBS.
Roman had already undergone a few surgeries for his two conditions. The doctor operated on him when his mom was pregnant at 25 weeks. His two brain surgeries had happened even before he reached his first birthday.
For now, the family wants to relish the boy's remarkable achievements while his parents continue to give him the best life they can offer.
Here's Roman enjoying a fun day at the park: