Mitchell Jones is 11 years old and has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He was diagnosed with the incurable disease at the age of 3. The muscle wasting disease usually results in progressive muscle deterioration and is fatal by late teens/early 20s. The family recently discovered Mitchell's heart muscles are deteriorating rapidly and it is uncertain how much time he has left.
A few weeks ago, Mitchell's grandparents gave him a puppy. The puppy named Marlie instantly bonded with Mitchell and has become his new best friend.
Mitchell's father Chris Jones, filmed when Mitchell and Marlie met for the first time (see the video below). He is documenting moments in his son's life and sharing photos and stories on his Facebook page called Mitchell's Journey.
"Taking photos, our observations of him have really helped us as a family. It turned us from being victims to be more observers of this marvelous thing that was going on, even though it so difficult," Chris explained to the Desert News.
Marlie has visited Mitchell in hospital and her favorite spot is right next to him. "The hospital would allow Mitchell to have puppy visitations, something they don’t normally allow," Chris said. "We’d bring that puppy in, and Mitchell’s spirits were lifted. Believe it or not, it seemed like his vitals got a little better because he was so filled with hope and happiness because of this puppy."
Chris is home from the hospital now and Chris writes that Marlie has "been at his side since he returned home, offering comfort and happiness. Medicine for the heart and soul."
Photos in this article are by Chris Jones.
Update March 3, 2013
Mitchell passed away quietly at home on Saturday March 2, 2013. His family wrote on their Facebook page, "Mitchell, while weak in body was giant in spirit." Rest in Peace, Mitchell.
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