You'd never know it to see him play. Braden Johnson runs, smiles, and giggles like any healthy little boy. Though only 19 months ago, his life was near an end before it even started.
"He was born 12 weeks early, weighing 2 pounds, 6 ounces," said Larissa Johnson, Braden's mom. "He had a grade-two brain bleed. He had ROP -- a preemie eye condition. He had double hernia repair surgery, and he also had breathing issues, which is typical for preemies to have."
It was all seemingly too much for first-time parents Larissa and Jason to comprehend.
"I didn't know anyone I could turn to for advice. You're just kind of going," Lasrissa said. "You spend so much time praying and hoping that everything will be OK."
Braden spent 57 days in preemie intensive care. He grew in the artificial womb of an incubator, connected to wires monitoring every bodily function.
The waiting, the prayers, and the advanced treatments pulled Braden through.
"It's absolutely been a blessing," Larissa said as Braden was having fun in a nearby playground. "March of Dimes has made so many medical breakthroughs that have helped children these days."
Luckily, Braden is completely healthy now. Nothing can slow down this toddler's motor -- a true blessing who has a bright future.
FOX 13 will join the rest of our community this Saturday, May 2 in the 'March for Babies' Tampa event to save young lives.