A Staten Island toddler who lived in the hospital for 129 days as he waited for a new heart is finally back home with his family.
Holding his mother's hand, Jake Schron, who turns 2 next month, took his first steps outside Montefiore Children's Hospital in the Bronx Tuesday before making the trip back home for the first time in four months.
"Elated, relieved, whatever you want to say, I'm just so happy to have my family back together," said Jake's father, Andrew Schron.
Jake, who suffered from cardiomyopathy, lived at the hospital for months while he waited for a life-saving heart transplant. His mother stayed with him while his father, who has been sick from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, stayed at home to look after Jake's 3-year-old twin sisters, Mackenzie and Courtney.
Jake successfully underwent surgery on March 23. He spent some time recovering at the hospital and is now back at home with his sisters, and they all have to learn to live together again, with some new rules.
"It's just a matter of teaching the girls to always wash their hands, and to try to get Jake to do the same as well," said Jake's mother Shannon Schron.
Friends and family had originally organized a fundraiser for Jake's 2nd birthday, which is on May 19, but now that the little boy is back home with his family, they want to turn the event into a celebration of his new life.
"The kid's 2 years old, he's like a rock star," said Andrew Schron. "To do that is unbelievable."
Nearly every day, people send gifts and food to the Schrons' home, and their neighbors hang hearts in their windows in Jake's honor. The small gestures mean a lot to the Schrons, they say.
"The words just can't express how overwhelming it is, how much people love this little boy," said Shannon Schron.
To learn more about Jake and his condition, visit heart4jake.org.