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EUGENE, Ore -- A Springfield boy who has a rare disease got a big surprise Thursday afternoon.
Mateo Guerrero was named one of 11 Miracle Kids to represent Children's Miracle Network Hospitals as a CMN Champion for 2018. He found out at a party, complete with all his favorite superheroes.
"Somebody said, 'Are you ready for something' and I didn't really know what was going on. Now I actually get to experience something that I probably will not forget," said Mateo.
In 2008, Kayla Guerrero, Mateo's mom, had a typical pregnancy and Mateo had a normal birth. But, several hours later, Mateo would not eat and he started vomiting. His stomach was also distended, which is a sign of malnutrition. After several tests, doctors discovered his small intestine was so swollen it could burst at any second.
Kayla and Carlos, Mateo's father, were told to kiss Mateo goodbye because he might not live through the 10-minute trip via neonatal ambulance. He was transferred to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center, a Children's Miracle Network Hospital, in Eugene.
Soon after, Mateo was diagnosed with Hirschsprung's disease, a very rare intestinal disorder, that most people have never heard of. Mateo's entire colon, and about half of his small intestine were removed. He was only given a 30 percent chance to live.
Mateo spent 71 days in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Today, he visits a pediatrician, pediatric surgeon, gastroenterologist, dietitian and a urologist between Sacred Heart and Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland.
"If you see Mateo today, you would think I was talking about a different kid," Kayla said.
Mateo, now 8 years old, is a typical third grader and big brother. He loves to ride his bike, play outside and is an avid fan of Marvel Universe, especially the Hulk. While doctors expected him to be undersized, Mateo is above average in height and weight. He is an excellent student, particularly in math, and competes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Kayla said "you couldn't ask for something better after the year that we've had. This is going to be incredible. It's a nice vacation for the family to where we don't have to think about anything but being together and having fun."
As a CMN Champion, Mateo will get to travel to a number of CMN events, including Disney World.