‘He is just so precious’: Family brings baby with heart transplant home for the first time

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 6:09 PM CDT
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WAYNE, W.Va. (WSAZ/Gray News) - For the first time in his 10 months on this earth, Steele Merritt made it home.

Crowds lined the streets to welcome him home to Wayne, West Virginia.

“It has been rough not knowing if he is going to make it,” Steele’s grandmother, Arlene Maynard, said.

Baby Steele is a fighter. He was born Sept. 28 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with Transposition of the Great Arteries, according to WSAZ.

Steele’s great grandmother Donna Merritt was proudly watching and waving as they went by.

“He is just so precious that his little smile would have to be a help to anyone,” Merritt said.

Steele had two open heart surgeries before receiving a heart transplant in April. Seth and Jennifer Merritt, Steele’s parents, never left their son’s side. They took turns staying with Steele in Cincinnati while taking care of their three others.

The smile on Steele’s face is something Merritt had only seen in pictures. She had not yet met her great grandson.

“It was so good I want to hold him,” Merritt said. “I’m going to try in a few minutes.”

Maynard said her own heart was pounding, anxiously waiting to see Steele roll by.

“Overwhelmed, didn’t know if we would see this day, God has blessed us,” she said. “My daughter and son-in-law are amazing, they took turns taking care of him.”

Sunday also marked a celebration for Maynard and her greatest gift came in such small wrapping.

“Best birthday ever,” she said. “Couldn’t be any better than this.”

First responders escorted the Merritt Family to their home in Wayne.

Friends of the Merritt Family have set up a Go-Fund-Me to show the family support.

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