LYNN — Kayden Marcelino, 3, danced his way out of Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Brighton Wednesday months after his third open heart surgery.
“You would never know he’s so sick,” said his mother, Leyda Uribe. “He’s so happy but he’s still so sick. He’s had open heart surgeries, he’s been paralyzed, and every time he wakes up with a boom like nothing ever happened. When anyone asks me where I get my strength, I tell them he’s my inspiration.”
Kayden, a Lynn resident, has been a patient at Franciscan Children’s since March, following his surgery and a stay at Boston Children’s Hospital. He has a complex diagnosis of Down syndrome, along with cardiac disease, pulmonary vein stenosis and subsequent progressive pulmonary vein disease, which requires him to breathe through a tracheal tube with help from a ventilator.
Nurse practitioner Kassy Thompson, who has been a part of Kayden’s team since he arrived at the hospital, said his treatment is somewhat complicated, but his mom and four siblings have stepped up to master it.
A fighter since birth, Kayden’s three open heart surgeries came before his third birthday. In March, he required a tracheostomy, and shortly after he was referred to Franciscan Children’s in Brighton for further recovery.
Wednesday was the first time he was able to return home in eight months, said Uribe, and leaving behind the medical team the family has grown to love was bittersweet.
“When I first came here, I hated this place, but now, we’ve been here so long and we’re leaving behind all these great people. It’s a mix (of emotions),” she said.
But, as usual, her toddler was in good spirits.
“He has such a big personality and he loves music,” said Uribe. “Even if you say ‘boom, boom, boom’ he’s jamming out.”
As a baby, Kayden wasn’t a great sleeper and would often lay awake with his mom late at night. When Urbine switched on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” he would stop what he was doing and start grooving. That’s when she discovered his love for music and movement.
“I started to use it at the hospital,” she said. “I would play it on my phone when he was having blood drawn and it would make him happy.”
He has since become the dancing king of Franciscan Children’s, with moves for all types of music, whether he’s feeling the beat of a modern pop song or mastering his version of a salsa dance.
“We have many dance sessions a day,” said Thompson. “He is just so happy. Like any 3-year-old, you never know how it’s going to be from one day to the next, but he really is just happy all the time. He’s just a courageous little guy. That’s how I would describe him.”