Owen Torti, a 23-month-old from Georgia, was born with CHAD (Long-chain 3-hydroxy acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase) when he was just a few days old.
This means that he has a rare metabolic disorder which requires him to eat every hour to stay healthy. Because of this unusual genetic disorder, Torti's body can't break down fatty acids into energy. If he doesn't eat every hour consistently, then his body starts to break down important muscles in search of energy.
"He wants to act like a normal 2-year-old and he wants to go and play and run around as long as the other 2-year-olds," Torti's mom Olivia told ABC News. "Unfortunately, we have to have him sit down and take little breaks. ... He doesn’t know how to pace himself."
Because Torti must eat so frequently, he hasn't yet grasped the concept of meals. "From feeding Owen so frequently, he has a lot of oral aversion to eating. Solid foods is so hard for him right now," Olivia told ABC News.
"If we had breakfast and skipped lunch [our body] would use up the energy from breakfast ... [to] break down stored fats for energy," Olivia explained to ABC News. "Owen’s body cannot do that. It breaks down his muscles and can cause problems with kidneys or liver or heart."
Olivia continued to share with ABC News, "We’re hopeful that he can manage and he’ll know his body enough."
Torti's parents hope that he can begin to have a normal life as he grows up and learn where his limitations are.