Be the Hope NOW: Caden Coonfield shows miracles can happen

Caden Coonfield in the hospital. (Coonfield family / Riley Hospital for Children)
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AVON, Ind. (WTHR) — With Christmas weeks away, it's a reminder that miracles can happen. Riley Hospital for Children is performing life-saving procedures every day in central Indiana. They're gearing up to perform open heart surgery on a little boy, days from now.

I spent time with the Coonfield family at their home in Avon. They're praying for a peaceful procedure to help their son continue to thrive.

Caden Coonfield just celebrated his second birthday. But, he's already gearing up for his third open-heart surgery. You'd never know it by his bright spirit. It's an energetic household! Two Coonfield kids under five is fun, but it wasn't always this bright. Caden was diagnosed with a long list of conditions at just 26 weeks into Aimee Coonfield's pregnancy.

Caden Coonfield recovering in the hospital. (Coonfield family/Riley Hospital for Children)

"All these things you've never experienced before. So, it was just tough to kind of sift through," Rob Coonfield, Caden's dad said.

Congenital heart defects are scary, especially before you're born. One of Caden's conditions is a variant of 'hypoplastic left heart syndrome', where one side of Caden's heart was underdeveloped. It meant he needed open-heart surgery at just seven days old.

"The size of the heart, they say, is like a.. walnut. Very small," says Aimee Coonfield.

Caden had been taken to Riley right after birth. The survival rate was hovering around 68 percent. Doctors also discovered another issue, Caden's heart pointing in the opposite direction. Faith carried them through. It's the Coonfield's foundation. Aimee and Rob prayed constantly.

"I feel like the Lord allowed me to never ask why... like 'why did this happen?' Because I don't owe Him anything," Aimee said.

Caden survived that first surgery. The recovery was months long. Eventually, Caden came home, but the Coonfield's were back at Riley again two months earlier than they expected. Doctors knew he'd need a second surgery to improve blood flow, but hadn't planned to perform it so soon. It was scary for Aimee, who had to call 911 when Caden's oxygen levels went critically low. Again, she looked to the Lord.

"This is the worst moment of my life, I'm not happy, but I can still find joy in this situation and get through it," Aimee said.

“How do we get him to understand that this is OK that he has a little bit of pain right now.”

Caden rebounded thanks to Riley's doctors.

"You would never know, so it's just ... he's a completely different kid. He's a fighter. He's a warrior. I want him to embrace it. I want him to think his scar is cool," Aimee said.

That scar will be cut into again soon. And now, the concern since Caden is older, is the awareness of the operation this time around.

"Now he's going to have a level of understanding, and I think that makes it a little difficult for us," Rob said. "How do we get him to understand that this is OK that he has a little bit of pain right now because it's going to make him better."

This third procedure at Riley will make more improvements. But the Coonfield's faith remains strong. And Caden's heart, while needing repairs from Riley, is already full of love.

Caden at the playground. (Riley Hospital for Children)

"Hopefully one day he wants to help other kids who are in his position," Rob said.

If you want to give a gift to help other children like Caden Coonfield, you can donate to Riley Hospital for Children here.