As a baby, Daniel was not expected to survive. He was born with a serious pulmonary condition called tracheomalacia, which narrows the airways and restricts a child’s ability to breathe normally. In Daniel’s case, the condition was life-threatening. From his youngest years, he needed a tracheal tube to breathe, and doctors thought he might need the device throughout his lifetime.
He was also born with an orthopedic condition that contributes to abnormal bone growth, giving him a short stature. He has had knee surgery in Children’s Colorado’s Orthopedic Institute, and will eventually need hip surgery.
Donna was a traveling nurse when she met Daniel in 2005. Her connection to him was very strong from the beginning, and she adopted him when he was 2 years old and in foster care.
“We didn’t know if Daniel would survive. We didn’t think he would ever be able to live without his breathing tubes, but his doctors wanted to give it a try. He was healthier than we thought,” Donna said.
At Children’s Colorado, Daniel saw respiratory therapists and pulmonary specialists. Daniel’s caregivers were trained to work with children who had conditions like tracheomalacia, using kid-sized instruments in a kid-friendly environment. His treatment was coordinated, so that his respiratory nurse was aware of his pulmonary doctor’s notes. The expert, integrated care he received helped Daniel not only survive beyond his diagnosis, but thrive.
His breathing tubes were removed two years ago. He is now able to participate in activities that early in his life seemed impossible. He has a purple belt in karate, and he is learning to swim.
“Daniel’s doctors have been extremely important in his life. It’s amazing to me that he has no fear when he goes in for treatment because he knows he will be cared for. He’s so comfortable with Children’s Colorado,” Donna said.
At 9 years old, Daniel is also a leader in his household and helps take care of his brothers and sister.
“He is very much a helper about the house,” Donna said. “He feels responsible for the other kids. He’s really an old soul, a very big man in a small body. The power of that little boy changed my whole life.”