At 2 years old, Bradi Foster is finally getting used to living in her family’s home in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Until recently, the only home the toddler has ever known is a hospital room at Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Boston. Born premature at 25 weeks gestation, Bradi has been fighting for survival since day one. She was born with a host of health problems and even required cardiac surgery.
Bradi also needed a ventilator and supplemental oxygen. She had to work with a physical therapist for months to wean herself off of complete IV nutrition. Once she was able to eat some pureed food by mouth her mom, Darlene Foster, says she began making real headway in her health struggles.
When she was 19 months old, it was finally time to say goodbye to the hospital workers who made her exit possible. It was an emotional yet joyful goodbye on the day Bradi finally left the hospital. Everyone in the pediatrics unit showed up to give her a cheerful send-off.
“All her doctors and her nurses and her respiratory therapist — everybody was there, blowing bubbles and cheering for her,” Darlene recalled. “The light at the end of the tunnel after 19 months.”
Thanks to a special adaptive backpack, Bradi was able to leave the hospital even with her gastrostomy tube in place —a backpack holds all of the feeding equipment inside it, giving people the ability to move around without being hooked up to a machine.
Now that she’s finally home, Bradi is getting to know her three older sisters and the family dog. Photos of the child show her beaming with joy in every shot!
“She’s just happy to be alive and happy to love everyone,” said Darlene. “She has never met the dog, so that’s a big deal. She hasn’t seen her sisters since July, so this is a huge deal, that they finally get to see her.”
Bradi’s health battle left a big mark on the family, for better and for worse. While it was undeniably an “emotional roller coaster,” their oldest daughter was so inspired by the healthcare workers that cared for Bradi that she now wants to be a pediatrician when she grows up.
There’s always a silver lining! Two years is way too long to spend in the hospital, so we’re so glad Bradi is home at last. We could look at that smile of hers all day long!
Don’t forget to share this Bradi’s story to welcome her home.
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