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LEO'S BIG DAY; He's only FIVE but already stands 5 FEET tall and weighs in at EIGHT stone. His parents feared they might lose him to rare illness but he's beaten the odds and is ready to start school for the first time.

Byline: Sam Walker

A BOY with an excessive growth condition has defied doctors who predicted he wouldn't live to the age of five - by preparing to go to school for the first time.

Leo Duncan Scott weighs eight stone, eats three adult meals a day and, at almost 5ft tall, is almost as big as his 11-year-old sister Rebecca.

Despite struggling to buy a uniform big enough for his first day, the fiveyear-old's parents Jimmy and Lesley are thrilled he is able to go at all.

Jimmy said: "We were told at one point he would only live to the age of five, so to see him have his birthday was brilliant and we're really glad he is starting school.

"We were told he wouldn't live, that he would be paralysed and that he may end up being blind but he is really independent.

"It's great that he's going to school, though we are having problems getting a blazer to fit, because he's twice the size of the other kids in his class."

Leo weighed 10lb 2oz when he was born but spent the first two weeks of his life in an incubator with breathing problems because of his size.

He began to go blue and was rushed back to Wishaw General Hospital after just one day at his new home in Hamilton.

GIGANTISM Leo's condition baffled doctors, who misdiagnosed him three times with various conditions such as cystic fibrosis in his first two years.

He had a huge appetite and digestion problems, was slow to crawl and then walk and was given a wheelchair after he struggled to catch his breath while active.

But last year, experts at Yorkhill children's hospital in Glasgow discovered Leo had Sotos syndrome, a rare incurable condition which causes children to grow at an excessive rate in the first few years of childhood.

The condition, also referred to as cerebral gigantism, is a rare genetic disorder and is often accompanied by autism and delayed development.

Leo wears clothes designed for a 12 or 13-year-old and will tower over his new classmates at St John Primary School's additional support unit in Hamilton.

Baker Jimmy, 30, said: "He has always been huge. Doctors say his growth should slow down now but he is almost as tall as his sister."

Leo has come on well since starting nursery at the council-run Early Learning Unit in Hamilton, where he was given special tuition.

He has "graduated" from the nursery and, apart from attending biannual hospital heart checks, is a happy, if very hungry, boy.

Jimmy added: "It doesn't matter how much we feed him, he's always asking for his dinner, probably because of his size." Leo's mum, care home worker Lesley, 28, is excited that her big little boy is ready to on to school. cited move Reflecting on the last five turbulent years, she said: "It was a really worrying time when Leo was born. ulent eally "Since then, he has progressed really well and we would like to thank the Early Learning Unit for all their support.

"The nursery has been really good at offering us support with Leo's physical development and he has really gone from strength to strength.

"We are so happy and proud to see him graduate from nursery. It was a l really special moment." The unit's head, Carol A Wright, said: "Leo is a well-known pupil with the unit and a real character.

"He will be missed by all staff within the Early Learning Unit when he starts school in August. It has been a pleasure having him as a pupil."

Jimmy added: "We were in the dark for years about his condition, so if we can help anyone else who has a baby with the same condition, that's all we want."

CAPTION(S):

PROUD 3 Leo with parents Jimmy and Lesley BIG CHANGE J Leo, aged one, and right, with his sister Rebecca, 11
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 21, 2012
Words:654
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