MESQUITE (CBS 11 NEWS) – Paddling through water in his kayak, Matt Hernandez is focused on the blow horn.

“When I hear the blow horn, I stop,” he says.

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He’s getting ready for the Special Olympic World Games held in Los Angeles from July 25 to August 2.  And, there- he’s hoping for gold!

It’s not been an easy ride for the 21-year old Mesquite resident.

Born with Rubinstein Taybi syndrome, he wasn’t given much time to live.

Doctors told his grandparents, Jack and Kathy Green, that Matt wouldn’t live past his 11th birthday.

(credit: CBS 11 News)

(credit: CBS 11 News)

“They told us he won’t be able to walk, talk or eat on his own,” Green told CBS 11 News.

“His grandma would stay up, starting 12 o’clock at night and feed him with an eyedropper like a puppy, till he finally started swallowing,” Green said.

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The hard work paid off.

Now Matt is one of 14 athletes from Texas selected for the World Games.

Matt has a lot of support from his family and friends.

Travis, his good friend, and his coach Keith Townsend are always by his side.

But Matt believes his biggest cheerleader is God.

“I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me,” he says quoting Philippians 4:13. “I think of that verse every single time I’m out there, every time,” he told CBS 11.

Matthew Hernandez is proof that miracles do happen and that’s why he’s a Texan With Character.

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Matthew and his family are traveling to Los Angeles for the World Games this month. If you wish to donate money for their trip.. you can visit his Go Fund Me page.