My Mayo Miracle

Missouri boy's video a touching perspective of his trip to Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Third-grader Briggs Wilhoit's extra assignment during his time at Mayo Clinic turned out to be a unique video project.

Most kids would bemoan an extra assignment from a teacher.

For third-grader Briggs Wilhoit, the added work became an unexpected outlet for a 600-mile trip to Mayo Clinic that weighed heavily on his mind. The 9-year-old boy from Branson, Missouri, recorded a video titled "My Mayo Miracle" that chronicles his journey to Minnesota at the advice of his teacher after his friends and family noticed how nervous he was about upcoming tests.

"The video was a gamechanger," says Amy, Briggs' mom. The resulting project is a touching look at the family's trip to Rochester from Briggs' perspective.

Briggs' journey to Mayo Clinic was years in the making.

For most of his life, Briggs lived with horrible cramps, stomachaches and a persistent rash. After he was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, the family hoped that eliminating gluten also would eliminate Briggs' symptoms.

It didn't, and doctors were unable to figure out why.

"I just kept thinking, 'This can't be healthy or normal,' " Amy says.

After a family member had a life-changing experience at Mayo Clinic, Amy and her husband, Jeff, decided to see if Mayo might be able to help their son.

They recently brought Briggs — and his video camera — to Mayo, where he was seen by a care team that included Jennifer L. Hand, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist, and Imad Absah, M.D., and Mounif El-Youssef, M.D., both pediatric gastroenterologists.

Amy says the family was wowed by the team's professionalism and the camaraderie among the doctors.

But what perhaps meant the most to her was the way Dr. El-Youssef and the care team related to Briggs.

"He heard our story. He listened to us, he listened to Briggs," Amy says. "He took his time."

Briggs returned to Minnesota after his initial visit for more tests, including a colonoscopy and endoscopy. The tests determined Briggs has lymphocytic colitis.

"(It's) a rare condition that probably wouldn't have been caught anywhere else, since the test for this condition was actually developed at Mayo," Amy says.

Since his diagnosis Briggs has begun making dietary changes and taking medication to treat his condition. The young documentary maker will return yearly for follow-up care, and a potential sequel.

"We fell in love with Mayo," Amy says. "We tell people we left part of our hearts there."

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