Mayo Doctor Gives 17-Year-Old Patient a Prized Gift

August 14, 2018 06:08 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Seth Bayles and his mother, Julie Bayles, never come empty-handed when they visit the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.

“We have either brought tabs, money or both,” said Julie.


With the help of their community, the number of pop tabs they've dropped off … “It's got to be millions and millions,” she said.

Seth was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease 11 years ago.

“His immune system is recognizing himself - particularly the subcutaneous fatty tissue - as foreign,” said Julie. “He has epilepsy, he has lung involvement, rheumatology, you name it. The latest thing is his stomach. The paralyzing of his stomach and his colon. So he is 100 percent tube-fed.”

“I think God is what has gotten me through everything,” said Seth.

The two have made the trip to Mayo Clinic for treatment more times than they can count. It’s a five and a half hour drive (sometimes a six-hour drive with all of the stops) from their hometown of Kenosha, Wis. 

After an emergency with Seth’s feeding tube last week, they found themselves making the trip again. But this visit is one Seth will never forget.

The 17-year-old is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan; it's something he and Dr. John Stulak have in common. 

In a video posted on the “Seth’s Journey” Facebook page, you can hear Dr. Stulak saying, “I am going to give something to you. You know we follow sports teams and things, but you know after we came and met your mom, people like you are the true hero. So accept something from me, please.”

Dr. Stulak then leaves the room to retrieve an item that’s been sitting his office for years.

In the video, he comes back holding a signed football by Ben Roethlisberger. Both Seth and Julie are shocked.

“It was unbelievable! My heart dropped,” said Seth.

He says the football is now one of his most prized processions.

“Hope to us is that we are making a difference,” said Julie, "that we can use this [Seth’s condition] in a positive way.”

And with people like Dr. Stulak blessing Seth with such a gift:

“It's going to encourage him to give to others even more, because he knows what it’s like to receive,” Julie said.


Hannah Tiede

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