NOBLE, Okla.- During the Christmas season, a couple in Noble is very thankful for family after a long year of health problems.
"He has just been our warrior," Caitlin Collett said, referring to little Colton.
Last year around the holidays, the Colletts found out that they were going to have a baby boy.
"We found out we were having a boy, was pretty exciting especially for Colby’s dad because the name Collett was going to be carried on," she said.
It was also around that time they learned that grandfather, Rick Collett, had terminal pancreatic cancer.
"Rick was told he would have six months to live and that was going to be just enough time, if he made it, to meet Colton," she said.
As the birth date in April drew near, during prenatal visits, Colby and Caitlin learned little Colton had club foot along with a hole in his tiny heart. Doctors also told them he would have stomach and kidney issues, and had markers for Down Syndrome.
"Not the news we wanted to hear," said Caitlin.
Colton was born three weeks early, and the procedures immediately started. Major surgeries were performed on his feet, his throat and his stomach, but that wasn’t the worst.
"He always had trouble eating, breathing, it would just wear him out," she said.
The fatigue was due to a nickle sized hole in the little man's heart. Open heart surgery was done, and grandfather Rick was there for support between his chemo treatments.
"He was there every step of the way, He was there for us even when he didn’t feel like it," said Colby Collett.
Colton survived the procedures and in September, over 90 of the Collett's friends and family put on the 'Colton Crusanders' t-shirts and took part in the Down Syndrome 5K at the Bricktown Ballpark.
"A crusader is someone who fights for what they believe in and Colton has fought from the beginning," said Caitlin.
Grandfather Rick was in a wheelchair, but completed the 5K and held little Colton at the finish line.
"For dad to be going through chemo and to be there to see Colton hit these milestones in his life, it was really touching to me. It just proves if there is a will, there is a way," said Colby.
"His thoughts were that if Colton can survive and can overcome what he has overcome already in his short life, he can do that," said Caitlin.
Rick lived almost six months longer than doctors predicted, but he passed away in October. One of his last wishes was that donations be made in his name to the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma.
"You know flowers to him really didn’t mean much," said Colby.
"Even though Rick isn’t here, he is still here taking care of Colton," said Caitlin.
Caitlin says the DSACO has been key in helping prepare them for a child like Colton. It has also put them in touch with other parents experiencing the same issues.
"No one wants to be told that their child is going to have difficulties. To hear from another mother who completely understands how you feel, you know that’s comforting, to know that you are not alone," said Cailtin.
As for Colton, he battled through a bout of RSV and pneumonia recently. He came out undersized but healthy, and continues to teach his parents a thing or two.
"Now we have a very tough little boy who is showing us that even though he is 8 months and 11 pounds, he is might and he is going to accomplish a lot," said Caitlin.
"I couldn’t be prouder. It means a lot to me that he is such a strong little baby," said Colby.