SARASOTA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Four-year-old Wyatt Ipe couldn't be happier after going through a surprise playground at his Sarasota, Florida home. The experience means everything to him and his parents, Jon and Crystal.
"He's been through so much. He’s taught everyone so much," said Jon.
Wyatt was born three months premature, weighing only two pounds. He faced 15 surgeries and medical procedures and spent nearly a year in the NICU.
Doctors gave him a 4% chance of survival and diagnosed him with chronic lung disease.
"The fact that he is still here, the doctors say, is a miracle. It’s because all of us all of our family just stood behind him and we never gave up on him," said Crystal.
Today, Wyatt always needs to be careful.
"He can get extremely sick and a small illness is not a small illness in his situation," said Jon.
Because a small illness can turn life-threatening, Wyatt can't use public playgrounds like most kids his age. So the Make A Wish Southern Florida decided to build him his own.
Wyatt's was their 16,000th wish granted.
"It will help him developmentally to be able to improve and it’ll make his life better," said Richard Kelley.
Richard Kelley, the chief operating officer of Make A Wish Southern Florida, said the playground will help Wyatt increase his physical and brain stimulation. It has an adaptive swing, slides, rock wall, sandbox, and sensory enhancements.
“It makes everything that he’s gone through... in the past just disappear for a little bit," said Crystal.
The new playground is already helping.
"Everybody calls him Wyatt the Warrior and we say, 'Never give up,'" said Crystal.
Wyatt the Warrior now has his own place to dream, play, and make even happier memories.
"Saying [we are] thankful just isn’t even enough. Everything is just amazing and we are so incredibly grateful and thankful... We wouldn't be able to give him this," said Crystal.