Wellsville elementary school fifth-grader Michael Douglas listens during class. Michael is an honor roll student despite a rare lung disease that has kept him out of school for weeks here and there since kindergarten.
Michael's mother, Lisa Douglas, says that despite her son's condition, he doesn't complain. "He is so strong willed," she said. "He still has such a great attitude about things."
Oxygen tubes are strewn across the carpet of the Douglas' living room as Michael watches television with his father on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2008 in Wellsville, Kan. Although he must remain connected to the breathing tube, the Douglas' have a longer system of tubes that connect to a larger oxygen tank in their home so Michael can walk around the house without pulling his oxygen tank.
Michael Douglas has been hooked up to oxygen since age 1, so he says he is used to it and doesn’t let it get in his way. Like other typical fifth-graders, he enjoys watching sports and playing “Rock Band.”
Ten-year-old Michael Douglas is wheeled out to the playground at Wellsville Elementary School by his classmates Gavin Wilson, 11, and Dylan Leckner, 11. Michael suffers from interstitial lung disease and has been on oxygen since he was 1 year old. The two classmates pay special attention to the needs of their friend, often hanging out indoors with Michael during recess as he is unable to participate in high-level activities or be outside when temperatures dip below 50 degrees. While the friends started recess outside on Feb. 5, they ended up playing inside because of the chilly wind.