After defying all odds, a boy born without a brain passed away Monday at age 12, reported KSLA News 12.

When he was born on Christmas Eve 2001, Trevor Judge Waltrip had only a brain stem and hydranencephaly— a rare condition in which the brain’s cerebral hemispheres are absent  and replaced by sacs filled with cerebrospinal fluid.

Because he had a brain stem, he was able to breathe, respond to some stimulus and maintain a heartbeat. However, Trevor was unable to see or verbally communicate.

“He’s so alert and hates to be alone,” his mother Elizabeth told KSLA News 12 in 2003. “He’ll sense that, too.”

Doctors were surprised Trevor survived 17 months, as they were unsure if he’d even make it to 12 weeks. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are no definitive treatments for the condition. Symptoms may include seizures, lack of growth, paralysis and intellectual deficits.

With the help of a feeding tube and therapists who stimulated his muscles and joints, Trevor lived for 12 years. In 2005, Elizabeth told KSLA that he was doing well, gaining weight and had 15 teeth.

“… he does bite, so he does know what he’s doing,” she said. “I look at it like he’s here for a reason, and I thank God every day for it.”

The Waltrip family is asking for help to cover funeral costs. Donations can be made to any Chase Bank under the “Trevor Judge Waltrip Donation Account.” There is also a GoFundMe page set up for donations.

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Click here to visit their GoFundMe page.