Think about it: 848 days. Nearly 28 months. More than 2 years, almost a toddler's entire life.
That's how long 2-year-old Addy Smith has been in the intensive care unit at Rady Children's Hospital. But on Tuesday, she finally made the trip home, where she'll be starting a new life with her family.
Addy was born prematurely and faced health issues, including chronic lung disease.
“Addy’s case was one of the most complex of any pre-term baby I’ve ever taken care of," said Dr. Jeanne Carroll of Rady Children’s Hospital. "She had very critically ill lungs, and we really struggled to help support her, but the parents persevered, and she persevered, and we found a way to help her get home.”
Throughout her, Addy’s parents, Chris and Alesha Smith, were by her side.
“You know, we are so blessed," Chris said. "Eight hundred and forty-eight days is unfathomable. You know, she’s been through so much, you know, more than 99.9% of people that live.”
Addy faced numerous setbacks but was able to battle through each one of them.
“To be honest, the talk of going home happened a few times, and almost every time after that 'home' word came up, something always happened to her, literally the next day, so we were always kind of holding our breath,” Alesha said.
Friends, family and hospital staff gathered outside the hospital on Tuesday to watch the beginning of Addy’s new journey.
Many people believe Addy will be an inspiration to others.
“I think Addy is going to grow up to be an amazing human," said ,” family friend Rocio Bunker said. "I can actually see her giving Ted talks at some point about how her journey was."
Doctors acknowledge there will still be challenges ahead but they're confident Addy will clear every hurdle.
“She still has ongoing medical needs, but she is a fighter, and every week she is gaining new skills, she’s developing, she’s surprising us and her parents, Chris and Alesha, that she’s able to achieve, so we are very hopeful that she is going to continue to work on these developmental skills,” Carroll said.