JUST a year ago, little Caden James Morrell was lying in a hospital incubator after open heart surgery.
The stricken tot’s parents feared the worst when he was rushed to hospital screaming and gasping for air.
As medics carried out urgent tests on their first-born, mum Kim Fisher and dad Ian Morrell, 30, faced an anxious wait for news.
But after months of treatment, Caden is well on the road to recovery and has now celebrated his first birthday.
Mum Kim, 28, from Hetton, said: “We had a great day. We held a little party with the family.
“He’s into Mickey Mouse at the moment so he got lots of Disney toys. He had a great time.”
The family were visiting relations, just two weeks after his birth, when he suffered the sudden symptoms last year.
Tests later revealed Caden had been born with a congenital condition called ventricular septal defect, meaning he would need immediate life-saving surgery.
He was admitted to the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, where he underwent an eight-hour operation.
But after follow up appointments and further tests, Caden has made a full recovery and Kim, a staff nurse at the stroke unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital, and Ian, a forklift truck driver at Nissan, in Washington, are enjoying life as a family.
“He is doing really well,” said Kim. “He’ll still have to go for a check-up, but he’s doing fine.
“He’s started walking and getting into all sorts mischief. He wants to be involved in everything.”
In a bid to raise money for the hospital where he was treated, Kim and Ian have embarked on a fund-raising drive.
As well as a 147-mile cycle ride from Whitehaven, in Cumbria, to Sunderland, a sporting event at Easington Lane FC has boosted the appeal in aid of Ward 23.
“So far, we’ve raised about £2,000 through the fundraising,” added Kim.
“We’ve had so much support from friends and family. It’s been a great success.
“We also want to thank Easington Lane FC for helping us.
“They were amazing.”