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Children's Hospital Heroes: Battling prune belly syndrome

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An Austin area family is learning more about their son's determination and his rare disorder, prune belly syndrome.

Doctors at Dell Children's Hospital see one patient a year or every other year with prune belly syndrome.

Aaron Mitchell was diagnosed with the rare disorder and is overcoming obstacles every day.

Play time is precious to 3-year-old Aaron Mitchell even if his toys are at the doctor's office.

Before Aaron was born, doctors told his mom, Megan and her husband that he might not make it.

"We were devastated," Megan recalled. "It was the worst day of our lives."

The scariest part for the Mitchells was not knowing exactly what was wrong.

"We went for months thinking our baby isn't going to live," Megan said.

Sonogram pictures showed the pressure building inside Aaron's stomach. It was bigger than it should be. Megan went to the doctor each week for a procedure to drain fluid from Aaron's body.

Hope came for the Mitchells shortly before Megan's due date.

"Dr. Seremitis gave us a name for what he had, and an idea of what was going on and said he could fix it," Megan said.

Pediatric urologist Dr. George Seremetis diagnosed Aaron with prune belly syndrome.

"Prune belly syndrome is a disorder where the whole entire abdomen is lax, very little muscles in the front so the abdomen pooches out," Seremetis explained. "Along with that you have significant swelling of the kidneys and bladder."

One in 40,000 babies are born with prune belly syndrome. Aaron's case falls in the middle of the spectrum. It can be fatal.

Aaron did not know he was fighting, but he does fight every day with a smile on his face.

"He looks great, his overall prognosis is quite good," Seremetis said.

In the future, Aaron will have at least two more operations.

"I just feel like it's the greatest gift to be his mom," Megan said.

Megan said thanks to Dr. Seremetis her son has countless days to play.

The Mitchells are heading to a national conference on prune belly syndrome in St. Louis to meet other families. A prune belly survivor will sing the national anthem at a Cardinal's game, and another will throw out the first pitch.

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