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7's Hero: Caldwell teen musician organizes dance and toy drive for St. Luke's Children's Hospital

Mario Calderon knows what it's like to be in and out of the hospital, and he wanted to give back to the kids at St. Luke's this holiday season.

CALDWELL, Idaho — A 16-year-old Caldwell High School student with a big heart is doing amazing things for the kids at St. Luke's Children's Hospital this holiday season.

Mario Calderon knows what it's like to be in the hospital. He's battled health problems since the 8th grade. 

"We started having issues when Mario was in 8th grade, it just came out of nowhere," said his mother Janet Calderon. "All of sudden he passed out, he couldn't feel his hands and feet." 

Mario's health problems only got worse, and it was a mystery as to what was wrong. His doctors here in Idaho were baffled. 

"Mario was in a coma for almost two weeks in St. Luke's. He was in a wheelchair for six months as well," Calderon said. 

Mario and his family finally got the answers they needed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His mom told KTVB he was diagnosed with several rare chronic conditions. He has small fiber neuropathy, benign fasciculation syndrome, amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome and arthritis, reflex neurovascular dystrophy, migraines, and TMJ.

It was a lot to understand and treat. He was in and out of the hospital for four years. 

"Man, it was really stressful, to be honest. I worked hard so I could get better and be where I am today," Mario told KTVB. 

He was, and still is, so touched by the incredible nurses and doctors at St. Luke's Children's Hospital that have taken such great care of him over the years. 

"With all their care and everything, it inspired me to give back," Mario said. "My idea was to come up with something to give back to the hospital and make sure that they have toys to have kids play with"

Mario is also a musician and an up-and-coming star on the Mexican music scene. 

RELATED: 7’s HERO: After losing their newborn baby, a Caldwell family honors him each year by giving back to their community

"As soon as I started getting better, I played the guitar all day and all night," said Mario. "I started a group, and now thank goodness we are out and about performing." 

Mario's band is called New Generation 2000. They have been booking gigs all over the region. 

"We've been playing in Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, Utah, and Oregon, and soon we'll be playing in California too, it's really getting big now," Mario said. 

A few weeks ago, New Generation 2000 played at a very special dance in Nampa. 

"We played for an hour, and it was a free dance, but the entrance was a toy, so we were able to gather a lot of toys," Mario said. 

The toys piled up, and Mario and his family hauled them all over to St. Luke's just in time for the holidays.

"To be honest it made me tear up," Mario said. "It made me super happy to give back. I would love to do this every year." 

Mario said he couldn't have done it without all of his sponsors and such a supportive community. He can't wait to see this toy drive grow each year.  

Watch more '7's Hero'

See all of the heartwarming segments in our YouTube playlist here:

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