NEWPORT BEACH — Hearing the word "treatment" spurs a Pavlovian-like response in Beckett Williams that is as natural to him as sitting at the table for dinner or going to bed at night.
The blond-haired, pink-cheeked toddler, who is nearly 2, will attempt to hook up a machine that shakes him as he breathes in medicine in its efforts to break up the thick and sticky mucus in his lungs caused by cystic fibrosis.
"He doesn't know any different," said Amy Williams, his mother. "He knows that's part of the drill."
Less than two weeks after his birth in May 2009, Beckett was diagnosed with the inherited terminal genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems. Mucus clogs the lungs, leading to potentially deadly infections and impeding the pancreas from breaking down and properly absorbing nutrients.
"It was very difficult," Amy Williams said. "We were a little confused, scared. We knew it was bad, but we didn't know what it meant."