(NEW YORK) — At just 3 years old, Corbin Durant has been in and out of the hospital more times than his mother can count.
He was born with heart defects, including a heart valve problem, but that is just the first in a host of ailments. He has low muscle tone and nerve damage, which means he sometimes moves awkwardly.
His face is partially paralyzed, resulting in an inability to blink and eyelids that look slightly closed most of the time.
Most troublingly, it appears that his cerebellum is shrinking and after years of tests his doctors still don’t know why, according to his mother Natasha Durant.
Cerebellum shrinking “can cause a lot of problems. It may be responsible for nerve degeneration. t may also cause problems with motor function and speech,” Natasha Durant told ABC News.
His doctors told her that they believe a genetic abnormality is most likely the cause of Corbin’s symptoms, however, multiple tests looking for different genetic disorders have come back negative and a diagnosis remains elusive.
In recent months, Corbin’s doctors have recommended that the boy be taken to the Mayo Clinic in the hopes that they would be able to figure out his diagnosis.
His doctors “were working on this for four years. They decided it’s time for him to see a new team and almost all of them first mentioned Mayo Clinic,” said Natasha Durant. “If we can figure out a diagnosis … I’m hoping there’s something to slow it down.”
The family hopes to raise $20,000 to get Corbin his initial consultation at the facility.
According to ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle, the family needs to put a down payment of more than $9,000 to be seen at the clinic.
While the disease has taken a physical toll, Durant said Corbin remains a very outgoing kid and he appears to be aware of how other people perceive his illness.
“People always ask what’s wrong,” Durant said of strangers when they see Corbin for the first time. “Up until three months ago he didn’t have a care in the world. …[But] he’s starting to understand.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Patrick Gillespie, CNN
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com
Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN