LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Thursday became a day a Louisville teen will never forget -- a day his hero surprised him in his hometown.
He's watched him on tv, battling the toughest competitors in the ring, but what 16-year-old Michael Moore did not realize, is that WWE Superstar Damien Sandow's biggest fight has never compared to the one Michael fights every day.
The Trinity High School student carries with him a genetic mutation that has compromised his nervous system and outward appearance. It's called Neurofibromitosis. His father, Jack, says it draws unwanted attention.
"He's not a leper. He's not contagious. It's not viral," Jack said.
However, it is incredibly painful.
"You have the issue of paralysis, or maybe in 6 months, it regenerates," Jack said.
Michael takes a daily dose of Oxycontin to supress what he calls a constant stabbing pain from tumors pressing in on his nerves.
"There's maybe a couple thousand people in the world who have it, so there's not enough money to be put into this disease to study it," Jack said.
Michael tries his best to live a normal life, but says he finds himself at home, away from judgement and discrimination.
"A lot of my friends know about it so they stop staring," Michael said.
He's faced quite a bit of both in the last year when applying for jobs.
"A liability does not mean he can't work and he's not disabled," Jack said.
It's taken some time, but Michael says his classmates are very accepting of his difference.
For Sandow, it's a difference that makes Michael a hero to him and others in the ring.
Sandow promised this would not be the last meeting with Michael. He's promised to send the latest xBox games from Michael's favorite collection.