BETHANY, Okla. -- There's nothing better than being home for Christmas, especially if you're 2-year-old Christian who has spent most of his life in and out of medical facilities.
Children's Center has seen miracle after miracle and hero after hero and now one of those heroes is leaving the center, they hope, for good.
After a quick walk through a cold parking lot, on the heels of a six hour drive from Little Rock, Kimberly Martin is just moments away from a first, the first time she'll have her son Christian home for the holidays.
As playful as he is now, Christian was born with a serious respiratory problem. He could barely breathe on his own.
"He was basically a normal term baby that had a very floppy upper airwave," Christian's physician Dr. Darin Brannan said.
Doctors in Arkansas first identified just how serious a problem they were dealing with.
"It's analogis to trying to suck a really thick milkshake through a flimsy straw; the harder you try, the easier it collapses," Brannan said.
Brannan said even surgery to remove Christian's enlarged tonsils and adenoids didn't open his airwaves enough.
"It was clear even with a trac, or breathing hole, he wasn't able to be without a ventilator so then at that point is when they made the decided to transfer him over here," Brannan said.
Unfortunately many children, including a small number of them at the Children's Center, have little choice when it comes to breathing in and breathing out. The hoses and the blinking machines become an extended part of their bodies.
"The major factor is that they are truly dependent on a piece of equipment, so they can't go anywhere, they can't do anything that would otherwise not have them tethered to a computerized breathing machine," Brannan said.
But after nearly a year of therapy, Christian is experiencing his first of what will be many firsts. He's breathing on his own.
"For us to be able to give a child their freedom and to remove their disability is very rewarding," Brannan said.
Christian's second first will be pending his first Christmas at home, with his family.
A team of respiratory, physical and occupational therapists work hard to get these kids breathing on their own. Children's Center is now receiving nation-wide attention for their ability to wean kids off ventilators.
Not all the little boys and girls at the Children's Center will be able to go home for the holidays, and here's what you can do to help.
Since the non-profit Center relies on donations they need our help with daily essentials for the kids. Beginning Thanksgiving Day unwrapped items can be dropped off between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Children's Center on NW 39th in Bethany.