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Georgia Toddler Born As 1 Pound Preemie Just Graduated From Lifelong Medical Treatment

Georgia Toddler Born As 1 Pound Preemie Just Graduated From Lifelong Medical Treatment

A true fighter!

A Georgia toddler born prematurely weighing just one pound recently graduated from lifelong medical treatment, Good Morning America (GMA) reports.

Parents, Alena Smith and her husband Wendell, brought their first son Wendell III into the world prematurely at just 31 weeks, weighing 3 pounds. When the couple got pregnant again, they were on alert but despite preeclampsia, Alena said she had a pretty normal pregnancy. When their second son, Charlie was also born prematurely at just 25 weeks gestation, doctors were baffled. Weighing just 1 pound at birth, Charlie was given a 50% chance for survival and spent 328 days in the hospital before he was able to come home.

Photo Courtesy of Alena Smith/Good Morning America

"It was scary. Especially since he was much smaller than his brother," Alena told GMA of her son's ordeal. 

As a premie, Charlie experienced several medical concerns. He had underdeveloped lungs, which required a tracheoscopy removed in 2019. Since then, he's been undergoing physical, occupational, and speech therapy at home. Now, Charlie has graduated from lifelong medical treatment, having hit all of his milestones and no longer requiring regular treatment. 

To celebrate, Cobb County police and fire stations held a curbside celebration in Charlie's honor. It was complete with a cap and gown, a certificate from his attending nurse, Geunevah Lafontant, and a parade with first responders and medical staff in Powder Springs, Georgia, just one day before his 3rd birthday. 

"It was a bittersweet moment...I have to say goodbye to him, but it was also a good reason to say goodbye," Nurse Lafontant told GMA. 

The only thing Charlie's worried about now is wrestling with his 9-year-old brother Wendell. His mother Alena has now started the Trust Your Strength organization to support other preemie parents, encouraging them through her story and giving self-care packages to moms in the hospital.

Photo Courtesy of Alena Smith/Good Morning America

She is grateful that both of her boys are well now and convinced that Charlie fought through because "he was determined to keep up with his big brother."

To learn more about Trust Your Strength, click here.

Congratulations Charlie!

Photo Courtesy of Alena Smith/Good Morning America