'Tiny Grizzlies Fan' Baby Miles is all heart with a contagious s - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

'Tiny Grizzlies Fan' Baby Miles is all heart with a contagious smile

Baby Miles supporting his Grizzlies (Source: Family) Baby Miles supporting his Grizzlies (Source: Family)

Meet Miles.

On July 25, Miles will turn one year old. He has spent his whole life in and out of the hospital. 

Despite all his troubles, his mother, Amanda McCollum said his smile never fades.

"He does truly wake up everyday with a smile on his face and it is contagious," McCollum said.

When Miles was born, he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and a collapsed lung. He spent four weeks in Methodist Germantown before he was able to come home for the first time in late August 2014. 

In October, he was taken to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital to have open heart surgery to repair two holes in his heart. There, he had a complication in his surgery that caused fluid to build up in his chest cavity, requiring another surgery to correct. After three weeks in the hospital, he was able to return home.

In February 2015, he was taken back to LeBonheur for a week due to respiratory issues and once again in April.

On May 12, Miles was taken to LeBonheur for a third respiratory virus. This time, after a heart cath, a chest cat scan and a lung biopsy, Miles was diagnosed with a rare lung disease called Congenital Pulmonary Lymphangiectasia. Often, this disease is one that is fatal for newborns, but Miles’ case is mild, and he has persevered.

The disease makes Miles more susceptible to respiratory illnesses and makes them much harder to fight.

"We have learned with Miles to take things slow and steady, and it truly is one day at a time and he is kind of setting the pace at this point," McCollum said.

After a month on a ventilator in the ICU, he was able to breathe on his own on his first try off the machine.

Now, the family remains in the pediatric ICU, where Miles is doing much better. His family expects Miles will need to go home with respiratory support of some sort, whenever he is allowed to go home. They expect Miles to spend his first birthday in LeBonheur.

Miles' doctors are a bit concerned that Miles may not remember how to drink from a bottle, or that the extended ventilator use has caused him internal damage that may not let him swallow.

“Miles has had a very hard first year of life, but he still wakes up every morning with a smile on his face,” said his mother Amanda McCollum in an email to WMC Action News 5. “He has a smile that is contagious, and everyone who meets him just falls in love. He is truly the sweetest, happiest baby, and he has brought so much joy to our lives and home. It has been very difficult on our family to be in and out of the hospital so much, but Miles is teaching us to slow down, tackle obstacles one day at a time, and celebrate even the smallest victories. If someone had told me a year ago what this past year would have looked like, I would have been scared to death and said I couldn't handle it. But, when I hold Miles in my arms, all I feel is gratitude for having the privilege of raising such a special son.”

McCollum, along with her husband Timothy, has another son named Dax, who lovingly refers to LeBonheur as “Miles’ hospital.” Five years ago, the couple’s first child Charlotte died at 16-days-old in LeBonheur after she was born with Hypoplastic Heart Syndrome.

McCollum says the loss of Charlotte makes them more appreciative of every day they have with Dax and Miles.

When Miles is healthy, he enjoys riding in his stroller around the neighborhood, visiting Farmer’s Markets and of course, cheering on the Memphis Grizzlies.

A picture of Miles in his Grizz gear was posted on Facebook by the Memphis Grizzlies and received more than 14,000 likes.

"All the nice things that people have said about Miles and the support just means the world to us, and we think he is awesome and we are so proud of him and we're excited to share that," McCollum said.

His family hopes to learn from Miles as much as they will teach him.

“We do not know what the future holds for our family,” McCollum said. “And how we are going to coordinate work, childcare, and the effort to keep Miles safe from germs, but [Timothy and I] hope that we can show as much bravery as our son Miles has shown, and keep a smile on our face.”

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