When he was only a year old, Paul came down with pneumonia, bronchitis and strep throat and was taken to the hospital. While he was there, his liver enzymes were tested and found to be abnormally high. Initially, his doctors thought little Paul had the hepatitis virus but, when his liver enzyme levels did not decrease, as they should, he was retested and sent to another hospital for a liver biopsy.
The results of the biopsy came back and it was determined that Paul had a condition called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. This is a disease that leaves the sufferer vulnerable to liver problems and emphysema. In Paul’s case, his doctors initially thought that, because his liver enzyme level was so low, he would need a liver and lung transplant in the next year or two, but his levels slowly began to go down with the help of various medications; now, he may not need a transplant until later on in his life.
For his wish, Paul asked to meet his favorite NASCAR driver, Mark Martin. Paul was treated to two days at the Michigan International Speedway along with pit passes; he loved every second of the high-octane wish. Of course, his favorite part was meeting Mark Martin in person. The two talked about racing and Paul even gave Mark a picture of him posing with all of his Mark Martin gear at home; Mark was touched. During the big race, Paul cheered Mark on in the pit box! What a wish!