MEDFORD, Ore. — A 23 month-old child facing physical challenges received a gift from two businesses in the Rogue Valley. Lithia-Honda and In and Out Gardens gave Mateo Lopez’s family a gift as part of its Love Bucket program.
Lopez has been through more than most 23 month-olds will ever experience. He was born with a condition called achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. When he was 6 months old, he started having seizures.
“It’s called apnea seizures and he would stop breathing and turn blue. He would just pass out. We didn’t know what was going on,” said Mateo’s father, Dominic Lopez.
Doctors discovered at the base of his skull, the bone was compressing his spinal cord. It was cutting off his central breathing station. Mateo went into surgery but it didn’t help. His seizures got worse.
“He ended up to the point where he had 15 to 25 seizures a day. Sometimes in less than an 8 hour period,” said Dominic.
His parents ended up finding a doctor specializing in dwarfism. The specialist recommended putting Mateo on a special diet and he started to improve. In May, he had his last seizure.
Mateo’s road to recovery has been difficult financially for the family but that’s where Lithia-Honda and In and Out Gardens stepped in. Through a program called Love Bucket, they chose to give Mateo a thousand dollars.
“We put Mateo into the Love Bucket and we couldn’t think of a better way of ending the year helping the Lopez family,” said Lithia-Honda customer relations manager, Kathleen Price.
Mateo’s parents say the money will help but the gift goes beyond the dollars.
“This community has been amazing. All of these beautiful people who have come in and really don’t know us and don’t know Mateo. To come in and help us has shown us the love of God,” said Mateo’s mother, Whitney Lopez.
But Mateo’s journey is far from over. He also has lung issues and will need corrective surgeries in the future.
This is the 22nd month Lithia-Honda and In and Out Gardens has helped the community.