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Family Spends Christmas In Hospital

December 24, 2012, 5:00 PM by Sammi Bjelland

Family Spends Christmas In Hospital
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Holidays in the hospital are not a dream situation for anyone. But the Churchill family is determined to make it work.

They're 20-month-old baby boy Maddox has a rare disease called Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome. It will keep him in the hospital through Christmas.

"This is a rare condition that actually causes the immune system to attack the brain. And lead to symptoms that include unusual movements, difficulty interacting and developmental plateauing, and seizures in some cases," Dr. Michael Kruer said.

Even though it's not easy, Maddox's family is doing everything they can to keep him involved and have a full Christmas experience this year.

"Maddox is still a human being despite the fact that he's here. So we want him included as much as possible. So we have my whole family coming up tonight to do some gifts and presents. And then I'll head home and sleep with the other kids and head back in the morning," mother Melissa Churchill said.

Over the next two days, the Churchills are planning events with both sides of the family which will add up to about 30 guests stopping by the NICU. But it's not only they're family that is blessing the Churchills with gifts this year.

"We got some from Sanford, the children's room they had here. I got some from work brought some, some friends and family. Lots of very generous people so the kids are going to have a good Christmas," Melissa said.

The doctors and nursing staff are also big factors in making this Christmas a little more cheerful.

"Everybody has done so much to really make it as bright as possible. And kept the faith up in believing he's going to get better. And we're still really hopeful. And we think he will," Melissa said.

"Maddox is a fighter. He's tenacious. And he has all of us behind him 100 percent," Kruer said.

Maddox and his two sisters and brother got a big surprise on Monday with a visit from Santa at the hospital.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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