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Miracles In Motion: Nate

“When people start staring at me, it feels a little awkward for about a second until I remember that I look different. My mom tells me to just embrace it and to smile back at them, but I don’t like to make eye contact because its awkward. I just want everyone else to know that I have a great life even though I was born with a disease. I’m just a normal kid.” – Nate, CMN Hospitals Ambassador

Just a few weeks before his first birthday, Nate was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a degenerative disease that attacks the mitochondria, the source that creates enough energy for the body’s systems to sustain themselves and support growth. According to the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine, one in 2,500 people suffer from mitochondrial disease. Because there is no cure for the disease, all doctors can do is treat each symptom separately.

Nate has seven specialists at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. At the age of 3 he was the youngest patient in the U.S. at that time to have an external device called a gastric stimulator implanted in his gastrointestinal tract to treat digestive issues. A G-Tube, or gastronomy tube inserted through the abdomen provides proper nutrition directly to the stomach, while an oxygen tank ensures he breathes properly.

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Miracles in Motion tells the inspiring stories of our pediatric patient families, clinicians and staff members in their everyday lives. These moments are what make UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital​ such a special place to the more than 150,000 patient families treated here each year. Follow along to learn more about these stories and how Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals​ makes even the most ordinary moments extraordinary.