Very few of Griffin Boyd's classmates at Mountain View Middle School know that he is a walking, talking miracle.
Griffin, 14, is believed to be the longest surviving person in the United States (and possibly the world) with a rare genetic disorder known as Anderson's Disease.
Anderson's disease is essentially an absence of enzymes that consequently allow fat lipids to build up in organs - primarily the liver and heart. It also leads to low-density muscle development and growth suppression.
Typically people born with Anderson's disease pass away during infancy or as small children.
Gary Boyd, Griffin's father, says his son is a fighter with an amazing will to live.
"He had full-blown cirrhosis of the liver at six months old and he had to undergo two liver transplants. We never thought he would make it to kindergarten," he said. "Very few children who have this have lived very long."
Griffin was honored last week, along with several other Turlock area students, by local politicians and leaders during the Every Student Succeeding awards program held in Modesto. Every Student Succeeding honors students who have overcome and succeeded against challenges, have gone beyond expectations and have won the hearts of their teachers and staff. The honor is given by the Association of School Administrators Stanislaus Charter and the Stanislaus County Office of Education.
Griffin is the type of kid who doesn't let a life-threatening disease stop him though. At his father's almond ranch he helps fix irrigation and sprinkler systems, rides the tractor and works on mechanical projects. Off the ranch he plays hoops at school, rides motorcycles and four-wheelers and has participated in 4-H. In every aspect of his life he lives to be a normal kid, something he learned from his upbringing.
"He's a spunky kid and he is very verbal. He will let you know what's going on. So, we don't give him any slack and we treat him like any other kid," said Gary. "I think that is part of the reason he has lived so long."
"I like to sleep, eat and drive four-wheelers. I'm pretty much a normal kid," said Griffin.
As a result of his condition Griffin must often take routine medical testing at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, in addition to periodical complications.
Mountain View Principal Cherise Olvera says his academic and social accomplishments are remarkable.
"Whenever the doctors have concerns he has to miss a significant amount of school. Even with that he still does well. He's a fabulous student and he is loved by his friends and teachers. He works very hard and we hold him to the same expectations," said Olvera.
Griffin says he would like to become a gunsmith or a lawyer, but he indicated that he is leaning toward a career as a gunsmith because he "doesn't want to be in college forever." He truly is a normal 14-year-old kid.
"On the outside he is a very normal kid but on the inside he is a miracle," said Olvera.