It's a small act that would mean a lot to the energetic 5-year-old boy and his parents.
"A smile can form a friendship," said his father, Charles Perales. "A smile can introduce you to a new class.
"It's the smallest of things, and it's the biggest of things."
It's the kind of thing he would like to pass along to his son.
"Everyone deserves a smile," says Maddox's mother, Danielle Templer, "and so I won't stop until my son has a smile on his face too."
Danielle and Charlie could not wait to welcome their first child into the world. But immediately after Maddox was born, they say, the doctor dropped him.
"I've been through a lot in the military," Perales said. "It was a lot different feeling when you see your son falling."
Five-year-old Maddox is like any other energetic, fun-loving kid, except for one thing. Diagnosed with Moebius Syndrome that only affects one in a million babies, Maddox can't smile. His parents are trying to raise the $100,000 needed for surgery. VPC
Soon after, Maddox was diagnosed with Moebius Syndrome, a facial paralysis that results from either direct trauma or genetics. It affects one in a million babies.
"(The doctor) told us pretty much that he'd never be able to smile," Templer said. "He would never be able to frown, and he wouldn't blink. I remember my therapist saying, 'Don't treat him like he's different.' So I treat him like there's nothing wrong."
For the most part, nothing is wrong. If his face cannot move, the rest of Maddox can't stay still. But Maddox's parents see kindergarten in his near future, meaning interaction beyond his immediate family. They want their son armed with a smile.
They are using a GoFundMe page to raise money for facial reanimation surgery. It is not covered by insurance and costs $100,000.
And the result? According to Templer, "They'll be able to move and create that movement to appear a smile on his face."
"It's not the desire to make him smile," says Maddox's father. "Smiling is just something we do on the outside. It's the desire for him to be happy."
Watch the video above to see Maddox enjoying his favorite hobbies, including swimming and playing the ukulele.
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