Two-year-old Kaden loves to play with cars and trains and enjoys the outdoors. He was born on June 25, 2018. When he was born the nurses tried suctioning him a bunch of times and he kept on Turing grey. They then took him to the NICU where they discovered he was born with TEF tracheoesophageal fistula and tracheomalacia. He also has an imperforated anus(which required a colostomy), duodenal atresia, and a PDA.

He had a 7-hour surgery at only 11 hours old to repair his esophagus and put it together. Along with other producers at the same time. Exactly a week later he got pretty sick and found out it was a bacterial infection due to his esophagus separating. They rushed him back for emergency surgery. That was one 5 hrs long. He had a T-tube holding his esophagus together that would eventually grow around the tube.

Once it grew around the tube and there was no leak then they could pull the tube out. At one point Kaden had 4 chest tubes. Because of all the chest tubes, it took about 4 months before I was able to hold him for the first time. On August 10th, he received a tracheostomy. Because he had a floppy airway due to the tracheomalacia. It made a huge difference in Kaden. He was more comfortable.

As his parents told Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital, the doctors and nurses were UNBELIEVABLE. They were very patient with us and gave the best care to Kaden. They went above and beyond. We stayed in the NICU for 169 days. We were released home on December 11, 2018. He has conquered so much since that time. He’s eating solid foods, talking, and has the best hair and personality. We are so grateful for all the surgeons, doctors, nurses and everyone in between that helped get Kaden where he is today. A happy, loving, and smart little boy.

When you call in or go online and donate you’re supporting kids just like Kaden. We encourage you to give a little extra love this season and donate online or by calling 1-866-676-PED1 to our 10th annual Secret Santa fundraiser. Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital offers patients remarkable medical care while offering parents peace of mind.

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige