Jacob Miller had been abnormally large his whole life. He was delivered five weeks prematurely, but had he been carried to term, he would have been over 12 pounds; the average newborn baby weighs 7.5 pounds, to put that in perspective. By the time he reached his teenage years, he was gaining about 100 pounds a year, and at his heaviest, he was 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 707 pounds. He was only 15 years old when he reached this size. 

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Realizing that his weight was killing him, Jacob and his parents set out on a mission to get him healthy, teaming up with medical professionals from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The video below details Jacob's difficult journey from a childhood rife with health problems and bullying through the teenage years that would eventually turn his life around. 

Jacob's parents suspected from the earliest years of his life that there was an underlying problem causing his immense weight gain. As a 1-year-old, for example, Jacob was already 52 pounds. Over the course of Jacob's childhood, he saw many doctors who believed that he had some kind of hormonal condition in his brain that was simply unidentified, potentially requiring 10 to 15 years of further research to be understood and identified. 

As a last resort, Jacob and his family decided that gastric bypass surgery was their only option to buy more time for research. Before surgery, Jacob suffered from diabetes, sleep apnea, cellulitis on his legs, heart disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, all because he was overweight. He and his parents knew that these conditions would only worsen if his weight didn't get under control. His pediatric surgeon at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Dr. Tom Inge, said simply, "Bodies aren't built to hold this much weight," and so surgery became the best option to give Jacob a chance at turning his life around. 

Jacob followed a restrictive diet in the weeks leading up to surgery and managed to lose 77 pounds, proving to everyone around him that he was very serious about making a positive and lasting change in his life. On July 5, 2013, he went into Cincinnati Children's Hospital for the actual procedure. 

Jacob and his parents were realistic about the role that surgery would have in Jacob's journey to lose weight. All three recognized that hard work would absolutely be required to get Jacob to a healthy weight. The surgery was just a stepping stone to help him along the way.

His mother said, "I don't think it's the fix-all, cure-all, but at least it's going to slow him down enough to maybe give us some time to do some more research to figure out what is causing his growth." His father admitted that the surgery scared him a bit, but ultimately realized that this was the best plan of action for his son, saying, "If this is the extreme that we have to go to, then that's what we'll do, because whatever he needs done is what's best for him."

Thirty days post-surgery, Jacob was already seeing some incredible results; he had lost over 100 pounds by Aug. 11, 2013. Jacob wasn't alone in the process, though; his whole family and group of friends were by his side helping him get healthier. His step-grandfather used his late wife's last Social Security check to pay for a membership for Jacob to exercise at the YMCA. Jacob's best friend, Laura Butler, made a commitment to start eating healthier at school and around Jacob to encourage him to continue eating healthier foods as well. 

By six months post-surgery, Jacob had gone from a size 10X shirt to a size 5X, and from 5X pants to 3X pants. 

By 12 months post-surgery, Jacob had changed immensely and still had a great attitude about the process of reaching a healthy size. He said of life post-surgery, "It's hard, but not as hard as it was before surgery. Before I couldn't do anything, I'd walk for five minutes and I'd have to sit down. Now I can walk for a half hour and not sit down." He wasn't just looking healthier; he was genuinely feeling healthier, and he recognized that this was his hard work paying off. 

Jacob managed to get rid of his diabetes and get his sleep apnea to a more manageable place through this transformational process, but he realized that the journey wasn't over. He said, "It's a lifestyle change, you have to change pretty much everything about you, but it's a change for the better. You have to work for it." Jacob didn't just go through the motions to lose weight temporarily; he understood that he was making lifelong changes that he would have to stick to if he wanted to remain healthy. 

Though the video below was first published on YouTube on Jan. 20, Cincinnati Children's Hospital has continued to post updates about Jacob's progress in the comments section of the video. The most recent update can be seen below. 

While Jacob's progress may not be perfect, his resilience has carried him a long way. Hopefully with his positive attitude, his weight gain will be nothing more than minor hiccups on his journey to a permanently healthy, happy life.