Baby Fintan's family has much to be thankful for

December 24, 2008 3:20:00 PM PST
This Christmas has a very special meaning for one Chicago-area family. Last year, we first met baby Fintan. He was born with a rare heart defect and received a lifesaving transplant. As ABC7's Ben Bradley tells us, one year later, Fintan and his family have much to be thankful for.

"It's been exciting to have him home, have him crawl over to the Christmas tree look at things and see how far he's come in a year," said Gina Schiltz, mother.

We first met baby Fintan at this time last year. He was hooked up to every tube and monitor imaginable -- and on Christmas Eve his parents had just one wish: They wanted the one present that would save their child's life.

"We were not despairing; we were full of hope that our son would receive his heart. This year, it's an overwhelming sense of joy," said Mark Schiltz, father.

They're prayers were answered Christmas Day. Like Santa bringing the best gift imaginable, medical teams found a new heart for Fintan. His recovery was longer than most at Children's Memorial -- he had spent half of his six months on this earth in the hospital.

Now, at 15 months old, Fintan will spend his first Christmas at home with his mom, dad, brother and sisters.

"It's nice just looking at him being one of the kids. It's so great to see," said Gina.

While Fintan plays -- oblivious to the miracle that brought him to this day -- his parents stop to give thanks to family they will likely never meet, tThe family who lost a baby about Fintan's age on Christmas Day one year ago.

"We're having this happy celebration of this anniversary and they're having this very hard year, their first year without their baby," Gina said.

"Their courage and generosity gave life to our son and we hope that will see them through," said Mark.

Fintan had a check-up just a few weeks ago. Doctors report no signs that his little body is having any difficulty adjusting to the new heart.


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