Local Boy Battles Rare Birth Defect, Doing Great After Surgery (VIDEO)

By Rachelle Spence - 21Alive

March 16, 2014 Updated Mar 21, 2014 at 2:37 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- The eight-month-old who was recently diagnosed with a rare birth defect has come through surgery a little swollen and bruised but ultimately he's doing great, according to his mother.

Reice Oakley Rodriguez's mother says "he is a trooper. So strong and such a fighter. He's done as well as expected. Swollen, bruised, black and blue. His eyes are still swollen shut but he's doing great!'

March 16 Report
Kingpins Bowl in Fort Wayne took part in a fundraiser to help one little boy lead a normal life.

Eight-month-old, Reice Oakley Rodriguez was recently diagnosed with Craniosynostosis, a rare birth defect that causes the plates of an infant's skull to close prematurely.

Without an expensive operation, Reice's brain doesn't have room to grow, which can lead to a misshapen head, mental development issues, and intense pressure inside the skull, often causing headaches and poor vision.

His mother says everyone's generosity, following his diagnosis, means more to Reice than they'll ever know, "[It means] the world! He'll hopefully be successful in life and grow as normal as possible."

On Sunday, Kingpins manager, Jim Weiks, was able to present the couple with $6,000 to put towards the operation and travel costs.

When asked what the family needs know, Reice's dad said the financial burden has been lifted, "Support and prayers really. That's all we need. Keep the faith, keep him in your prayers."

On Tuesday morning, Reice faces an 8-hour surgery at Riley Hospital that will remove, reshape, and rebuild parts of his skull.

The diagnosis has taken an emotional toll on this tight-knit family, but they now have nothing but optimism for Reice's future.

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