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His disability came without any medical explanation - a rare occurrence called Phocomelia - and Nick and his parents spent many years asking why this cruel trick would happen to them.
Phocomelia is rare enough that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center don't have compiled data on those living with the condition.
Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association 36 (1981): 43 – 44; “A Study of the German Outbreak of Phocomelia.”