O'FALLON, Mo. — One St. Charles County family is counting their blessings for getting to spend another Thanksgiving with their 18-year-old.
Nathan Laws has Mitochondrial dysfunction. He's also just the 20th person in the entire world to be diagnosed with Pierpont Syndrome.
"Your mitochondria are your energy production of your cell. They are the powerhouse of your cell, they get you up, get you moving," his mom Keli Stone said. "The Pierpont Syndrome, which is a chromosome defect, causes his mitochondria to never have a chance. The rare disease has a 50% chance of surviving by the age of two."
Stone says, it's a miracle her son has even reached the age of 18.
Throughout the years, the diseases have affected Nathan's whole body, but mostly his lung function.
Nathan wears oxygen all day long and at night, he uses a bi-pap machine to help him.
"In order to have healthy mitochondria, you need to recharge your battery, and how Nathan recharges his battery is by sleeping," Stone said. "His body is shaking a lot while sleeping and he doesn't have good sleep anymore."
But recently they've learned, Nathan stops breathing between 20 to 40 times an hour.
That's why his family is hoping to raise funds for the latest addition to the family, Moose. This pup will be trained as an alert dog.
"The dog will be able to alert Nathan either wake him fully to breathe again or the dog will alert us," Stone said. He can also help Nathan press a button to open a door or pick up items."
After 100 days of training, Nathan will go to school, so he can train other puppies to help other disabled children.
"Just having a service dog will help me out in the community," Nathan said.
But this ball of energy comes with a hefty price tag.
Extensive training costs more than $15,000, but Stone said the reward is priceless.
"This will touching more lives than Nathan," Stone said. "It’s not only for Nathan and Moose, it’s also for the kids and dogs they will be able to train."
Moose is a breath of fresh air, and Nathan's mom is thankful the dog has given that to her son. Along with a grin from to ear and ear, Nathan has a smile she's grateful to see for one more day.
This isn't Nathan's first time on 5 on Your Side.
He was featured on Mike Bush's Make a Difference, a few years back for his inspirational story of becoming an assistant coach for the Wentzville Wildcat after he had to stop playing, due to his illness.
He was also named the Rams' youth football coach of the year during their last year here.
Johnny Hekker, the Rams' punter, just made a generous donation for Nathan.
His family has raised over $3,500 and they have a goal of $15,000 on GoFundMe.
If you'd like to donate, click here for the GoFundMe link.