WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's been a year full of laughs, love and kisses for the Barone family now that Mikey Barone has spent almost a full year at home.
"He was in te hospital for so long and he was just drugged up for so long to actually see him out and playing. Actually having his first holiday at home is phenomenal," Michael Barone, Mikey's father said.
2-year old Mikey Barone spent all of his life in the hospital. 572 days to be exact. He had only been outside twice when he made the trip from Women and Children’s Hospital on Bryant Street to Oishei on the medical center campus. Now, he lives at home and just celebrated his first Christmas and New Years outside of the four walls of a hospital room. A shortage of nurses was the cause.
2019 marks the first year Santa got to visit Mikey at his home in West Seneca.
"He didn't know what to do. We tried to have him open gifts, and he'd more or less try to close them back up. He would tear the paper open and then put it back," said Kristine Barone, Mikey's mom.
Mikey's parents say his personality has been blossoming since moving home. He now plays, claps and blows kisses non-stop.
"He's happy, and that's what makes us happiest," said Kristine.
Mikey's also been able to grow healthier and stronger in the comfort of his own home. He's gained ten pounds since February.
"As long as he's getting bigger, he's getting better. He's growing. His lungs are developing healthier tissue. For us, it's only getting better from here," said Michael.
Mikey has only spent one night in the hospital since the move.
"There's no guarantee he'll ever come off the ventilator, but with the progress he's been making as he gets bigger he's developing healthier lung tissues which is helping him ween slowly off his ventilators," said Michael.
"There's times when you just don't believe it. I'll find myself staring at him and looking at him just like how is he so amazing? Like how can he overcome these odds?" Kristine said.
The process to ween Mikey off of his venitlator will begin at the end of January.
After the story aired, Mikey's family reached out to 7 Eyewitness News and said, "We can never ever thank all of you guys at Channel 7 for how much you guys did for us. Without your help, we wouldn't be able to bring Mikey home."