SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Ja'bari Gray, the baby boy who was born with a still-undiagnosed skin disorder, missing most of the skin on his body from the neck down, celebrated his first birthday on New Year's Day.
Pictured alongside his family at his Baby Shark-themed birthday party, Ja'bari continues to defy the odds.
The boy was finally released from the hospital in November, 11 months after he was born. He is home despite an earlier prognosis that he would not survive.
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"At 3 months of age, we were looking to plan a funeral," said his mother, Priscilla Maldonado, when she brought her son home. "We expected to bring him home, you know, months ago. You know, when he was born, we expected to take him home and that didn't happen."
She told ABC13 that Ja'bari's medical condition was not caught during pregnancy and never spotted on ultrasounds.
A skin transplant in May also meant a first. A lab in Boston, which normally treats burn patients, grew sheets of skin from Ja'bari's own cells. The skin graft was successful, but two other surgeries to open his eyes were not.
The baby, whose name means brave one, kept fighting. Maldonado said she received handwritten letters from dozens of pen pals after they became inspired by Ja'bari's story.
"Like, they gave him no chance, like, at all, and for him to jump that whole hurdle, they were amazed. So I'm going to let them know today that he came home," she said.
Baby born without skin celebrates his 1st birthday
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