Real-life 'Wonder' boy promotes kindness

Easton Hirdes was born with severe deformities

(NBC News 2017)

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. – The new film "Wonder," the story of a boy learning to overcome severe facial deformities, hits close to home for one Michigan family. 

"Wonder" stars Julia Roberts as the mother of boy born with craniofacial difference. The story takes viewers on the family's daily journey, which is plagued with adversity and kindness.

It is very similar to Easton Hirdes' story, an 8-year old living in Coopersville, Michigan, who was born with severe deformities.

Easton's mom, April Hirdes, said that around week 20 of her pregnancy, they found out Easton's face was severely deformed. His head was misshapen and his feet were not normal.

"There was a lot of sadness, a little bit of anger. A bit of mourning," April said as she recalled the unknowns that lingered during her final weeks of pregnancy. "Then he came and all of that subsided and [we] instantly fell in love with this face that to us became normal."

Easton needed a breathing tube, surgeries, in home care, and a feeding tube that is still there now. The Hirdes family has struggled with curious looks from strangers, and felt they needed to shelter Easton from the public. 

But the family read the book that "Wonder" is based off of, and they recently enjoyed the new movie, which helps as they push for a more non-judgmental society for kids like Easton.

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