‘It’s heartbreaking:’ Medical mystery forces man to wear size 44L bra

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MEARS, Mich. — Dale Hawkey has lived in his basement for three years now, staying out of sight because he's ashamed.

Hawkey, 49, claims he has the world's largest chest due to a medical condition. He and his caregiver, Nancy DeRose, say his chest is made up of thick corded muscle, and it's so painful, he wears a size 44L bra.

Hawkey is testing his strength of character, sharing his feelings, pushing pride aside in talking to FOX 17 about the accident that changed his life.

In 1999, Hawkey was run over by a truck. "It backed up over me," he said. Doctors placed a piece of plastic into his spine, and that piece of plastic, DeRose claims, is shifting.

"The chest has grown every time that plastic piece shifts he grows," DeRose said.

Hawkey says doctors are baffled, but he wants answers, not only for his health but his pride.

He has lived in his basement for three years now, staying out of sight because he's ashamed.

"I've lost three years of my life," Hawkey said.

DeRose says Hawkey has been tested for every hormone known to man.

According to Hawkey's medical records, he has a history of mildly overactive thyroid, low testosterone and elevated pituitary hormones. His mammograms are all negative, so there are no tumors.

Endocrinologists believe he has increasing fatty breast tissue, or gynecomastia. But Hawkey and DeRose disagree, claiming Hawkey's chest is all muscle. They say other muscles on Hawkey are growing too, including his neck, arms and upper back.

"Everything is solid," Hawkey said.

"The doctors can’t figure out what caused it and how to slow it down," DeRose said.

Hawkey says his condition is heartbreaking. He has lost friends and some family. And he constantly feels self-conscious.

"We've scoured the internet, seeing if there’s any other known cases," DeRose said. "I've gone through I don’t know how many medical journals, trying to see if anybody was out there or any study."

Hawkey is currently waiting for an appointment at the University of Michigan. He says he's not looking for a cure but just something to slow this down this process down, whatever this process may be.

Hawkey says he is afraid if the process continues, it will kill him.

If you would like to help with Hawkey's medical expenses, click here.

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  • Ella

    WTH? I can’t believe FOX17 even put this on the air!! A lacey black & purple bra w/ a bow is ALL he can find to wear?? And perhaps his friends are staying away because he lives in filth – not b/c of his medical condition.

  • Dr. Jack

    This condition is 100% gyno without a doubt. It’s what is causing them to be sore and tender. It’s not muscle it’s just dense fat (fat arms, fat back, fat chest, fat gut). A dual X-ray scan would prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Dale is very clearly obese and fatty diets lead to increased estrogen. Fat cells in the body also produce estrogen. All he has to do is lose the excess weight. The breast tissue will not likely go away on it’s own because he’s let it go on for so long. The tissue would have to be surgically removed after he loses the weight. The only thing heartbreaking is his willpower to make himself better.

    • Nancy

      For those people that didn’t pay attention Dale Hawkey has lost weight. He has been on a diabetic diet for 5 years. He has lost so much weight that his cholesterol is down, his type 2 diebetes has gone backwards which means he went from high sugar to extremely low sugar. When I met him 11 years ago I couldn’t fit my arms around him now I can Interlock my hands around him. If you watched the video I mentioned that Dale looses 20 lbs he gains 2 cup sizes. The mammogram that have been done shows that he has little amount of fat. Now I have a question if that is all fat then why does the 4 mammograms show an increase in muscle growth. We did this story to find help not be put down. Dales food is measured out for him on a daily basis by me. We have gone to plastic surgeons and they have stated that it would be to dangerous for him to have them cut off. Plus when he had all his hormones checked it showed that his estrogen was slightly low. If all of that chest is fat then why can he flex them and have full movement control. Also how is it that they stand up on there own when he takes off the bra. Also he had sever upper back pain but since the muscle has grown there as well how is it that it not there either. Unless you know all the facts or been near him don’t judge him. Simply understand this doctors like to lable something like this as gynecomastia simply because it is a simple thing. But in this case it is not. This is something that doesn’t make sense plain and simple that is why we reached out to get help.

      • Darlene Tierney

        Since this seems to have started after having the plastic piece inserted in his spine, has he inquired about having it removed and maybe replaced with some other material? Maybe his body is reacting to the plastic?

  • Tom Joyner Jr

    I call fraud. His “Care Giver” is his wife, he’s got kids.. all that stuff.. I saw a pic on her facebook from 2010 and his tits are just as big. He should just wear one of those “Eye’s Up Here” shirts with the arrows pointing up… they probably need to put an addition on their trailer…. terrible money scam, and another thing… you’d think he would be a better guitar player after all that time, and generic soda.

  • Saul Goodman

    thick corded muscle? don’t you have to exercise and eat right to build muscle? Pride? living amongst trash, and drinking cheap soda playing an out of tune guitar doesn’t indicate pride. These two trailer park hillbillies don’t even acknowledge in the report that they are married.

    I do want to thank Fox 17 for airing such a ridiculous story, it cracks me up every time I watch it.

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