Auburn (WSYR-TV) -- More than 300 people came together in Auburn Wednesday night for a vigil in support of a baby with a rare skin condition.
At less than a month old, Easton Friedel had to be transferred to a hospital in Ohio for specialized care. His skin blisters and bleeds easily and he faces a constant threat of infection.
Neighbors are hoping Easton’s story will push researchers toward a cure.
“He is holding his own. He is a trooper, fighting, fighting, fighting every chance he gets,” Easton’s great aunt Lori Bodoh said.
With a disease so devastating his skin can blister from the simple touch most infants crave, Easton's illness claims many babies within the first year of life. Neighbors at the vigil wrestled with moments of feeling helpless, then inspired.
“I hug my kids tight and I wish I could hug all of them tight and tell them how much I love them and I wish there was more we could do. I wish there was a cure. I wish for EB awareness,” said family friend, Hollie Wood.
A live Internet stream of the vigil allowed people across the globe to watch. Organizers tracked thousands of views online.
“I can honestly tell you that I’ve never been so proud of my community as I am right now, seeing this outpouring of support for this family going through such an incredible, difficult circumstance. It’s amazing,” said vigil organizer Sean Wrench.
While strangers in his hometown lit a candle for baby Easton, his family captured the distant light in their hearts, remaining at the infant's bedside in Ohio.
"I have never seen such an outpour for such a little life. It's wonderful,” said Bodoh.
Easton’s aunt says an infection was found in his heart that could travel to other parts of his body. She says all the support from home has helped the family stay by his side with mounting hospital bills.
On the web –Support Baby Easton Facebook