Toddler survives 12 hours of open-heart surgery at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital

He’s not even 2 years old, but Hercules’s Walker Farrington is a superhero.  

The toddler was born with a congenital heart defect that required 12 hours of open-heart surgery at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.  

His mother, Nicole Farrington, is mighty proud.  

“To be just three months old what he overcame is just astounding," she said. "His fight for life at a tender age is breathtaking.”  

That fight for life continued the next day following the surgery when little Walker’s repaired heart went into cardiac arrest.  He would spend a dozen days with an open chest and five of those were on a bypass machine.  

Exactly eight weeks and 1 day later, this little dynamo left the hospital.  

Dr. Neil Cambronero performed Walker’s surgery.  

“It’s wonderful.  He came through and he’s beautiful," Cambronero said. "He is his parents shining joy, and he brings to them the most wonderful feeling inside.  You can see it from the very beginning even before he was born.”  

The Farrington’s spent 57 straight days at UCSF while Walker recovered. 

 “It’s amazing to see what they do there," Nicole Farrington said. "They save kids' lives every single day. You are not treated as a patient, you’re treated like family.  They take it personally.  It’s incredible we were in the best hands." 

Cambronero echoed her sentiments: “You could feel the trust they had in UCSF.  We build relationships with patients and families.  They’re always there with us even after they leave.  And even after they have grown up.”  

Walker will celebrate his 2nd birthday in January.  

He now has a pacemaker for life, and will stick to non-contact sports like golf.  

Outside of that skies the limit for this little wonder.  

Walker’s father, Brian Farrington, said he’s growing up just any other child.

 “In this crazy time I’ve been working from home I was able to watch him take his first steps.  I have been able to witness things I would have missed at the office.  He’s very active and doesn’t stop moving.”  

Walker’s mother said there is a lesson in all of this.  

“The biggest thing I took away from our experience is to have that hope to never give up," she said. "Always remain positive because you look what he’s overcome and it’s a miracle.”