It's a disease you've never heard of, and it almost killed a little boy you've never met. But we're guessing the story of little Matias Velez will bring a lump to your throat as you learn about the medical miracle performed right in our backyard.
Shortly after his birth in Ecuador, Matias began acting lethargic didn't eat, mostly slept, and there were seizures.
Specialists in South America determined Matias had hyperinsulinism, a rare disorder, but they couldn't cure it.
Carla and her husband Enrique turned to social media raising awareness and funds in an attempt to get their child to the U.S. to Children's Hospital. Their campaign reached all the way to the Ecuadorian president.
In September, with help from their government, the family arrived in Philadelphia and at CHOP. Endocrinologist Dr. Diva De Leon-Crutchlow took over the case.
High tech imaging tools detected tiny lesions on the boy's pancreas. They were creating dangerous levels of insulin.
Surgeons removed no more than 2-percent of the boy's pancreas enough to remove the threat to his life.
Matias returned to Ecuador with a new life. Mom and dad will no longer have sleepless nights marked by seizures and blood tests and injection, just a sick little boy who's finally well.
With help from their high tech imaging equipment, the doctors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia did what few others in the world could manage. Removing the entire pancreas would raise blood sugar levels so high, the little boy would likely develop diabetes.
By removing just a tiny portion, the right blood sugar balance can be maintained.