SAN DIEGO - Three-year-old Mason Moore is as curious as any boy his age, but unlike most boys, he's had a very tough journey.
"He was born at 23 weeks, not given much of a chance to survive," said his father, Bill Moore, a firefighter.
Fortunately, Mason did survive and although he keeps smiling, the premature birth had a devastating effect. Mason is now dealing with spastic dysplasia, a form of cerebral palsy. He can't walk and it's unknown if he ever will.
"Nothing prepares you for the diagnosis and what to do from that point forward," Moore said.
The most difficult thing for Mason's parents is watching him sit out when it comes to running around with other kids, they said.
Moore, though, has a very important goal for his son: to get the most out of life and his abilities.
Moore said Mason needs special treatment and training to maximize his shot at life. As part of that, there is a campaign run by FirefighterAid to send Mason to Ability Camp.
According to the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, 1 in 6 children have a developmental disability or delay.
Advocates of cerebral palsy say March is the perfect time to bring awareness to the condition. March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month -- a proclamation made by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1987.
According to United Cerebral Palsy, two out of every 1,000 newborn children will develop cerebral palsy. Forty percent of those cases will be severe. Half of children born with cerebral palsy were born prematurely.
"I think just re-establishing a priority," said David Carucci , executive director of United Cerebral Palsy of San Diego County. "Disabilities Awareness Month also brings it to the forefront again and [is] a reminder that those dollars that are being put into research are very important."
Carucci said funding has not increased in a few years. From July 2011 to June 2012, UCP in San Diego served nearly 7,500 people.
Moore said it is critical families in a similar situation are not afraid to ask for help.
"Make sure that you always ask yourself if there's something I can do and you will find it," Moore said.
To learn more about cerebral palsy, visit http://www.ucpsd.org
To learn more about how to help Mason Moore, visit http://www.firefighteraid.org