Jackson Buyea's parents call him their 'tiny mighty'.
Jackson was born unexpectedly at 24 weeks. Bob and and Jen Buyea were driving to Indianapolis when they urgently pulled into a small hospital, ill-equipped to deliver babies.
"Jackson was born probably two or three minutes after we walked into the room," Bob Buyea said.
Jackson's eyes were fused shut. Nurses wrapped his body in saran wrap to keep his body warm, Bob and Jen recalled from the Canalician Center, where we interviewed the family for the Variety Kids Telethon.
"But I heard a little cry, and that was all I needed to know that he had decided he is going to make it," Jen said.
Jackson was transferred to a nearby hospital. Doctors gave him a slim chance of survival - and even if he survived, they told Bob and Jen it was unlikely he'd walk or talk.
Jackson suffered brain bleeds, a perforated intestine, hydrocephalus, meningitis, and numerous surgeries -- but he fought through them all.
"The reality is that Jackson, by the numbers and past history, shouldn't be where he is. But part of the thing we are so lucky with is the people that he has been put with," Bob said.
Thanks in big part to the Robert Warner Rehabilitation Center at Oishei Children's Hospital - previously Women and Children's Hospital - Jackson is thriving.
The four-year-old boy is happy, healthy, and as gritty as they come. He walks with crutches for his cerebral palsy, but he'll often ditch them if they slow him down. Jackson speaks, walks, and is progressing with his peers at the Cantalician Center.
"All of this work that he puts in, to him it's just what he needs to do to get through everyday," Bob said.
Jackson wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. His parents call him their 'tiny mighty'.
"It's terrifying, but I think it's just the beginning of great things for him," Jen said.