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Christmas Comes Early For Infant With Challenged Immune System

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Seth Petreikis (CBS)

Seth Petreikis (CBS)

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DYER, Ind. (CBS) — The parents of Seth Petreikis are calling it a Christmas miracle: surprise funding for a life-saving surgery.

After initially getting turned down by their state’s Medicaid provider, the parents found out Friday the cost will be covered, CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports.

Little Seth, who is five months old, fights for his life with each breath. He has a rare illness called DiGeorge Syndrome, which could make even catching a cold a serious health emergency.

He has a heart condition and no natural immune system because he was born without a thymus, which would teach his cells to fight. Visitors must wear masks and gloves.

The surgery to implant thymus tissue costs from $350,000 to $500,000 and is only done at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina. The problem is, Seth’s family’s Medicaid provider in Indiana wouldn’t cover it, saying it was experimental, the baby’s mother, Becky, said.

“What are we going to do? Do we just sit and watch our baby die?” she said.

Friday, however, Seth’s mother got a phone call that could change Seth’s life. Her Medicaid provider had a change of heart.

“I think it’s just an amazing Christmas miracle,” Becky Petreikis said.

Becky and her husband, Tim, have gotten $150,000 in donations this week as their story received media attention.

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