BRYAN - Charity Patranella cherishes moments when her son smiles. It gives her a glimmer of hope. Matthew Mitchell, 3-years-old, has Juvenile Dermatomyositis, an auto immune disease that is causing his muscles to rapidly deteriorate and his lungs to collapse.
"We thought we were going to lose him and there was a point where we almost did," Patranella said.
Doctors at the Texas Children's Hopsital in Houston didn't let that happen. Matthew and his mother talked to News 3 via Skype from his hospital room, where he has been in and out of the ICU for more than a month.
"It hurts to see him like that," she said.
Things are looking up a little for the toddler. Less than a week ago, he was moved to the Pediatric Children's Unit.
"They said his chances of recovering are kind of slim, but not to give up hope on that," said the mother.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, the disease affects about three in one million children each year. The cause is unknown and right now there is no cure.
"We need to get a cure going," Patranella said. "Not just for this guy, but for others around the world."
"Juvenile Dermatomyositis is a rare condition, although it is there and it is life threatening," said Texas Children's Hospital Pediatric Rheumatologist Dr. Carmela Gironella. She is one of the many doctors treating Matthew and is hopeful the little boy will be able to go into remission and maybe one day, walk again.
"We hope that with new and better medications, we can induce the condition to go into remission quicker," said Gironella.
Patranella hopes her son will soon enter remission, but she wishes for a cure more than anything.
"I haven't held my baby in a month and haven't heard him speak and I tell everybody, be thankful for the little things," she said.