Conemaugh Township senior overcomes 18 surgeries

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DAVIDSVILLE, SOMERSET COUNTY (WTAJ) — For Nate Blough, living right across from his high school brings up a lot of good memories at Conemaugh Township.

But not all memories are good memories.

“I do battle with depression, I’m diagnosed with it so I have to deal with it,” Nate Blough said.

Nate has undergone 18 surgeries in his lifetime. They range from eye surgery, jaw surgery and cleft palate surgery. His first surgery was when he was 11 days old.

“He had had Pierre Robin syndrome which is where the chin is pushed back but because of his cleft palate,” Christiane Blough said. “It was very scary. We almost lost him the next day because his lungs were filling up with fluid and he was getting pneumonia.”

Nate was born with Pierre Robin and Stickler syndrome. Pierre Robin syndrome is a condition in which an infant has a smaller than normal lower jaw, a tongue that falls back in the throat, and difficulty breathing.

“Some days are harder than others…but I do have great friends that help me fight through it,” Nate said.

His most recent surgery was in November to pull his jaw forward to help with his breathing.

But even after going through 18 surgeries — Nate still plays soccer and writes for the school newspaper, along with other curricular activities. He was even crowned homecoming king.

“To think that people like me….is amazing,” Nate said.

Nate said to help him get through tough times, he read the entire Harry Potter series.

“He had to learn to become a wizard and I kind of had to learn to deal with all these problems that I have,” Nate said.

Nate plans to study psychology at Penn Highlands next year. He said he wants to be a psychologist so he can help people with depression.

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