You can easily call Ryan Marquiss a miracle boy. He was born in Pennsylvania in 2009 with a rare condition in which part of his heart is outside his body. Almost no one survives this, yet Ryan is about to celebrate his third birthday.
The Daily Mail reports that Ryan had ectopia cordis, which affects just eight out of every one million births. Almost all of the babies are either stillborn or die within three days.
To add to Ryan's problems, he also had hypoplastic right heart syndrome, meaning only the left side of his heart developed properly.
He was given little chance to survive, yet after more than a dozen operations, including one to put his heart back inside, Ryan is alive and well.
"He has done amazingly well. He has been so brave throughout it, and his sisters have kept him going too. They have been to see him in hospital and made recordings of themselves at home, so Ryan could hear them," said his mother Leighann. "He just kept on fighting. He refused to die, and he kept on proving everyone wrong."
An ultrasound spotted the problem early in Leighann's pregnancy. Doctors advised her to have an abortion, but she refused.
"We wanted to let nature take its course, so we refused to have the termination," Leighann said. "We knew it would be a miracle if he survived the birth but we were unwilling to take matters into our own hands."
Leighann said Ryan is doing well -- playing and climbing just like every other little boy.
"The doctors told us that no baby with Ryan’s combination of defects had ever survived, so the fact that he is here with us today, is just amazing. He really has astounded everyone."