One lucky 6-year-old boy got to meet a familiar face and it was all to say thank you for raising money in his honor.
6-year-old Ethan Daniel and his mother Brisa met pro race car driver and reality star Arie Luyendyk Jr., giving thanks for his help in raising money for Miracles in Motion: Ethan's Rock Stars.
Just last month, Arie ran the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n Roll Marathon on behalf of Ethan.
"A mutual friend let me know about it, so I donated at first to help him and then I thought, well, I could probably do better," said Luyendyk.
He used the power of social media to drum up support.
"We threw a party, we did a kick ball tournament, some of the girls made tamales, we ended up raising almost $10,000 dollars which was really cool," said Luyendyk.
The money helps families who are getting care through Phoenix Children's Hospital.
Ethan's mother is beyond grateful for their care and support. She stays involved as a way to give back.
"The funds raised through Phoenix Children's Hospital..it helps every single child here," said Brisa. "Had it not been for PCH, I don't think we would have gotten the care that he has needed and the care that he will continue to get."
At 6 months old, Ethan was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome, a rare kidney disease that essentially lowers your immune system and causes extreme illness.
He has gone through countless surgeries and hospital stays.
"The first kidney removal was very scary. He ended up coding and the other one went into shock..that was probably a two month stay in the hospital. Then they removed the second kidney. They put him on peritineal dialysis," said Brisa.
After two years of at-home dialysis, he qualified for a kidney transplant. His grandmother was a perfect match and the surgery was successful. He was just 3 years old.
"We went from getting away from the machines to just taking medicines at home," said Brisa. "He's gained weight, he's grown, he runs around, he tells funny stories, he's just a normal little boy."
A sweet little boy who has experienced a lot in a short amount of time.
Ethan's mother says he will need another kidney transplant within the next 10 years.
As for Miracles in Motion, through them, Ethan was able to meet President Obama on a special trip to Washington, D.C.
WJBK-TV | Fox 2
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