VALHALLA, Westchester County (WABC) -- An 8-year-old boy from Westchester County who nearly died from Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome, an illness seen in pediatric patients linked to the COVID-19 infection, was honored Thursday by the hospital that helped save his life.
Jorden Hutchins, who was treated at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in Valhalla, was named as an ambassador for the hospital's 16th Annual Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day, to be held on September 13.
Hutchins was placed on a heart-lung machine and was given little chance of survival, but he made a miraculous recovery from the life-threatening syndrome that attacks multiple organs.
"I was worried that I might pass," he said. "It felt like I was never going to go home again, because I was very sick. I had the virus."
He was intubated, placed on a ventilator, suffered two strokes and went into heart failure. But now, he is back to his old self.
"I am strong" he said. "Be strong, and you'll get better."
Related: What you need to know about Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome
Dr. Aalok Singh, who was integral in Hutchins' treatment, said that the medical world is still learning about MIS-C and that many questions remain.
"(Jorden) has done amazingly well," he said. "But we don't know enough about MIS-C to know what the long term outcomes are."
For instance, he said it is not clear why certain children who contract COVID-19 develop the MIS-C and others do not.
Dr. Singh, who is an attending physician in the pediatric intensive care unit, said the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital has treated about 25 children with MIS-C, but that since children have been shielded during quarantine, it is difficult to know how many others might develop it when they return to more normal activities such as school.
"We don't know how many children are infected,'' he said. "We think it is a small proportion of children, but we are still learning about MIS-C and children are now being protected, not going to playgrounds so we don't fully know how many more cases might result in the future.''
Hutchins was cheered on by family and friends as he was presented with an official sash designating him as one of three ambassadors.
The children will help represent the more than 30,000 seriously ill and injured children cared for by Maria Fareri Children's Hospital annually.
Children nationwide have developed this very dangerous syndrome about a month after having COVID-19, and most had no symptoms at all until developing the later complication.
Related: Child with mysterious illness possibly linked to COVID-19 dies in NY
Hutchins' mother is now asking parents to have their children tested, particularly since they will be returning to school shortly.
The Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day will be held virtually this year, and community members are asked to create a fundraising team and hold a socially-distant, one-mile walk on the course of their choosing any time between now and September 13, 2020, and share a photo or video on social media using #GoTheDistanceGoesVirtual.
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