Joe Kindregan has what's called Ataxia-Telangiectasia, or A-T, a disease that's as cruel as it is rare. It combines symptoms of cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and cancer. The 24-year-old lives in Springfield with his family and loves to play with his niece Lucy.
His unique story has inspired celebrities like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner to support the A-T Children's Project.
To tell the story of his life, Joe wrote a song and called it "Hard Life."
So when he and his family met country singer Brad Paisley at a fundraiser for A-T, Joe handed him the lyrics.
"He showed it to Brad and Brad immediately felt that there was something there," says Suzi Kindregan, Joe's mother.
That led to a once in a lifetime trip to Nashville for Joe and his family.
This is what a dream fulfilled looks like. Inside a Brad Paisley recording session, he's laying down the guitar track just after finishing the lyrics. It may be old hat to Paisley, but for Joe, it was one of the best days of his life.
Speaking, much less singing, is a true struggle for Joe. But here, lip synching, his heartfelt words soar.
Joe says the song is meant to thank the people who love him and to inspire everyone with a hard life.
Hear the song.
He played the song for ABC7's Alison Starling on his computer, proud to share his gift that now has everyone listening.
"He sees the positive things in his life and the happiness and the friends that he has and he does appreciate them," says Suzi Kindregan.
And when Starling asked Joe if he's now a celebrity songwriter, he replied, "I like to think I am!"
Brad Paisley would agree.