Like most kids, 8-year-old Abram Dotson loves to be outside. He goes on the swings, romps with dogs and runs around the playground.
But about 10 times in the past year, he wasn't home in St. Louis; he was staying at The Children's Inn while being treated and tested at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.
Abram has a rare disease that regularly spikes his temperature to as high as 106 degrees.
"About once a month, he'll have three or four days that he will be at a normal temperature, but almost always he has 100. Then, when he flares, about every four or five weeks on average, it's 102 to 106," his mother, Julia Dotson, said.
Abram also suffers from arthritic, debilitating pain.
"I don't look sick, but I am sick," the blond little boy said with a smile.
Doctors at the NIH have worked for two years to identify effective treatments and, hopefully, diagnose Abram's illness. The Children's Inn has become his family's home away from home.
Few people understand the Dotsons' hurt and hope, Abram's mom said.
"Rare disease is just a very weird beast. I don't even have another word for it. It is hard for people to come alongside that and not run away from it, because it's overwhelming and it's confusing," she said.
Abram's spirits were high when News4 recently played with him, but all he wants is to be well.
"He said, 'Why am I sick all the time, and how come no one can fix me?'" his mother recalled.
UPDATE (Oct. 8, 2018, 1 p.m. ET): This story has been updated to clarify information on The Children's Inn.