JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Devrett Dodson is only 8 years old, and many people describe him as a ray of sunshine.
Devrett was chosen as the 2014 United Cerebral Palsy Telethon Superstar.
His mother describes him as such a joy, but it was a cruel world that shaped Devrett's existence before he was ever born.
"His dad beat on me and he hit me in the stomach and I do believe he's the reason. But I couldn't ask for a better son," said Molly Begley, Devrett's mother.
Molly was 15, still in high school, and trying to make the best of a teenage pregnancy. She says the abuse became more frequent and severe until she left Devrett's father. However, the constant stress had been too much.
"I ended up having him early. He weighed 4 pounds and 11 ounces. He was a tiny little thing," said Begley. Devrett had to be flown to Arkansas Children's Hospital for specialized care where he stayed for three weeks.
She said, "Once we got home, there were more challenges. At three months old, he got diagnosed with epilepsy. He was having up to 30 seizures a day."
At a year old, Devrett was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He also has multiple cysts on the brain. The consequences though were if they're removed, Devrett would never be able to speak.
His mom said that the smile on his face brings everyone joy. Students and teachers at Cedar Park Elementary find the same to be true.
"His attitude is fantastic. He will do whatever we asked him to do. No matter what it is. he will try. I wish everybody had that sort of attitude," said Vickie Wood, Devrett's teacher.
Because of cerebral palsy, Devrett's muscles are spastic or tight. He receives shots of Botox every 3 - 4 months, but doctors would like to install a more permanent solution.
His mom explains. "This baclofen pump that they want to try out; It's actually inserted into the abdomen underneath the skin and it has a tube running from it into the spinal cord."
This would allow medicine to flow more freely, giving Devrett ease in using his hands and legs.
The teenage mom has grown into a young woman. She's a single parent and Molly Begley wants desperately to see the things that other parents take for granted.
"I would love to see him walk one day. You know other parents; they get to see their baby running to them and I haven't yet gotten to see that. I can't go to the park with my son and slide on the slide. I've had so many dreams about it before. I just want him to drop everything and run into my arms and squeeze me. He's the best gift that I've ever been given," she said.