19-Month-Old Fights For Life
by Ashley Kringen, Reporter
December 07, 2012 9:49 PM
With just 18 days until Christmas, a lot of families are looking forward to spending the holidays at home, putting up Christmas decorations and baking treats, but some families don't have that privilege and are forced find other ways keep the holiday spirit alive.
The Churchill family is going through the unthinkable, Melissa and Jeremy’s baby boy, Maddox, also known as “Max,” is at the Sanford’s Children’s hospital after being diagnosed with a rare condition that effects one-in-10 million people.
That hasn't stopped the family of six; instead of giving up, they're bringing Christmas to him.
"When the world says give up, hope says try one more time," said Melissa Churchill.
That's the motto; Melissa said she and her family have been following.
Little "Max" was diagnosed with a rare condition called Opsoclonus Myoclonus, which is also called "dancing eyes and dancing feet syndrome,” where development stops and Max lost control over his hands and feet.
"This is when the body's own immune system will actually attack the brain and cause disease," said Dr. Kruer.
Dr. Michael Kruer, a Pediatric Neurologist, said Max is receiving intensive around the clock medical care, to help him breathe, eat and do other basic functions.
Through strong treatments to try and calm Max's immune system down, such as chemotherapy, Dr. Kruer said it's encouraging to see this baby boy's determination.
"It's astonishing how tenacious he's been and we're here to do everything we possibly can to help see him through this," said Dr. Kruer.
Max has made it through dozens of tests, seizures and at one point, was without a pulse for 28 minutes.
With doctor's thinking the end was Near, Max's family was asked if they wanted to let their son go or keep fighting.
"If he didn't want to be here, he wouldn't have been. A lot of kids would have given up by now," said Churchill.
Max's fight is Melissa's hope and Max might be sleeping right now, but when his eyes are open, he's known to be quite the flirt.
"He steals hearts, he blows kisses to the nurses, he hugs them, he's a big fighter, he's got a good spirit," said Churchill.
In the meantime, Max's family has decorated his hospital room with sparkly trees, holiday signs and even reindeer antlers, hoping to bring some Christmas joy his way.
The family has made “Team Maddox,” shirts to raise awareness for little Max’s condition, if interested, visit http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/MaddoxChurchill.
There is also a fund set up for Maddox at First Premier Bank, under the “Maddox Churchill benefit account.”