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Revere Teen Defies Odds After Being Diagnosed With Rare Syndrome

BOSTON (CBS) – A teenage boy who spent months unable to walk, talk or breathe on his own defied all odds when he walked out of a Boston hospital on Thursday.

It has been a very long journey for 16-year-old Justin Ith of Revere. But Thursday made it all worth it as he left the Franciscan Hospital for Children. It's something that didn't seem possible when he first arrived there.

"I can't really express the amount of joy I have or how happy I am, how far I made it," Justin says.

About a year ago, Justin was diagnosed with an extremely rare syndrome that causes paralysis, leaving him unable to walk, talk or breathe on his own.

Justin Ith
Justin Ith (WBZ-TV)

"I nearly died and I thought I was going to die," he says. "I thought I was going to disappear and be gone forever."

Justin spent the last nine months at Franciscans.

"When Justin arrived here he had a tube in his throat," Dr. David Leslie says, "he was totally dependent on a ventilator to breathe. He could maybe wiggle a finger or two but that was a stretch. Couldn't eat, couldn't talk."

Through grueling therapy, Justin grew stronger, relearning every day skills. And on Thursday he went home.

"He's a superstar," Dr. Leslie says. "Getting to know him, seeing his courage it's I mean, beyond inspirational."

"People like that, they have the heart to care and love sick kids like us and that gives us hope, it gives everyone hope," Justin says.

Justin's experience has also inspired him. He's thinking about going to college to learn to be a child life specialist and help other kids like him.

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