MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Maddox was born weighing one pound, 12 ounces.
"He was born at 24 weeks gestation, so it was very shocking when he arrived so early," said Amanda Rawn, Maddox's mother.
"It was very overwhelming. I've never seen a baby that small," said Chris Rawn, Maddox's father.
Maddox spent five months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Valley Children's Hospital.
"The doctors and nurses everyone there took exceptional care of him. And in fact, he wouldn't be here today without that extraordinary care," Amanda said.
"He has what we call spastic cerebral palsy where his brain has not fully developed, it doesn't control the rest of his body well, and so he basically doesn't have good control of his muscles. They tend to have natural contractures which we deal with medications and therapy and other things," said Dr. James Horspool.
Maddox is now eight years old and loves playing with his sister. He had a G tube placed to help him get nutrients.
"He's no stranger to surgery. I think that was number 11, and that's the most recent for him, and surgery with somebody medically fragile is extra nerve-racking. Since then, he's gained 12 pounds. You can tell he looks like he has some meat on his bones now," Amanda said.
"Very early on, we kind of accepted that his life would be different. And so we always said, you know, as long as he's like happy and he's able to like enjoy life, whatever that looks like for him. That was all that we really cared about," Chris said.
"You can see he's a very, very happy boy," Amanda said.
"The thing that we can do here is taking a little more time with the patients and do a little more. Have a little more involvement with connecting them with the services that they need. The reason that we can do that is because the hospital organization supports us in doing that," said Dr. Horspool.
"We're very grateful and thankful for the care from day one. From the NICU to all the specialists we see now, them putting their time and energy into helping us, keeping Maddox happy and healthy is extraordinary," Amanda said. "It just means so much to our family and until you need the hospital, you don't know the type of care they provide. They're kind of protecting those that can't protect themselves."
"What better thing is there to invest in. There's a reason they say "futures worth fighting for," because those kids are our future," Chris said.