Nicholas Didia has congenital muscular dystrophy - generalized muscle weakness that progresses over time.
Depending on the type, CMD can cause mental retardation or learning disabilities. Luckily, Nicholas has neither. In fact, he's actually a pretty smart little boy who continually surprises everyone.
Nicholas Didia doesn't just feed the ducks with his older sisters, new baby sister and cousins, he can talk about it, too. He can even sing if the mood strikes him.
Because of his congenital muscular dystrophy, no one knew if he'd ever be verbal.
Nicholas' mom, Alicia Didia, explains, "Doctors told us, due to his low tone and low oral muscles, he would probably always have slow speech, but he's really progressed."
School has helped a lot. He increases his vocabulary being around other kids in a regular classroom setting. He may not be able to write by himself like they do, but he can learn just like they do.
And just like other eight year olds, he's not always an angel!
"He likes to chase his sisters around in his power wheelchair, and sometimes, he changes his speed and goes a little too fast, and we have several holes in furniture and walls," says Alicia.
Over the last year, mom has noticed that Nicholas is losing upper arm strength, but gaining fine motor skills; he can play video games with the best of them.
But even though he's learned to talk in spite of the odds, he will probably never walk.
Nicholas' mom says, "Unless there would be some kind of treatment or cure, that's what we're hoping for."
Hope is what keeps bringing them back to the MDA Telethon every year. Nicholas loves to see himself on TV. He also loves to see the firefighters. Maybe he'll never be one himself, but that's ok with his mom. Her goals for him may be smaller, but they're definitely more important.
"I just hope he stays healthy first of all and as happy as he is now and is able to do whatever he puts his mind to," she concludes.
The MDA Telethon begins Sunday, September 3 at 10:30 p.m. and runs until Monday, September 4 at 5:30 p.m. The event will take place at St. Mary's manor. You can watch from home on channel 14.