Ohio boy celebrates 1st birthday in hospital while waiting for heart transplant

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CLEVELAND - A young boy who has been a patient at Cleveland Clinic's Children's Hospital for the past several months is waiting for a new heart, but Saturday he reached a major milestone at his home away from home.

He may not be your typical superhero, but Jaxxon Austin is currently in the fight of his life.

"It takes a really strong person to get through this as an adult, so I can only imagine as a child how much stronger it is because physically, he's the one going through all of it," said his mom, Jessica Austin.

Jessica said Jaxxon has been at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital since December, after being diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.

"Where one of the coronaries or one of the vessels feeding his heart was connected improperly, so it was depriving his heart of the oxygen that it needed,” nurse practitioner Hannah Bostdorff explained.

At just 8 months old, Jaxxon underwent open heart surgery, but it was unsuccessful and followed by a stroke.

"The goal of the open heart surgery was obviously to fix his valve but ultimately, his heart was just too sick to heal itself," Jessica said.

Jaxxon’s condition has put him at the top of the heart transplant recipient list.

Still hospitalized while waiting for a new heart, he reached a major milestone, celebrating his very first birthday, surrounded by his five siblings, friends and caregivers.

The theme of the party was superheroes. It brought balloons, toys and smiles to the young boy who has touched so many at his home away from home.

"We always tell everybody, 'Jaxxon has family at home and now he's got a hospital family as well.' When you come up here, he's always happy always smiling. It's hard but being in the situation that we're in, I'm just grateful he's being taken care of the way he would at home too," Jessica said.

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