Toronto Star

MIRACLE ON UNIVERSITY AVENUE

Tiny ‘samurai’ fought to arrive on this Earth . . . and won.

- VALERIE HAUCH STAFF REPORTER

Kaito with his parents, Tamami Suzuki and Charles Kryvenchuk, and big sister Reina. At four and a half months and a healthy 12 pounds, little Kaito has already overcome more than most people do in a lifetime.

He came into the world with a tumour larger than his head. But Kaito wouldn’t even be here had his parents listened to doctors advising them to terminate the pregnancy.

The little boy, whose name means “strong samurai’’ in Japanese, not only survived but is a thriving 4-month-old baby about to celebrate his first Christmas.

His mother, Tamami Suzuki, and father, Charles Kryvenchuk, say the little boy with big hazel eyes more than lives up to his name.

“He’s the champ, he was the one who fought to come to term, he’s the one who fought after the surgery to stay alive . . . he fought and he fought and he fought — he is his name,’’ says Kryvenchuk of his son, who now weighs a healthy 12 pounds.

When he was delivered Aug. 5 during a unique surgical procedure at Mount Sinai Hospital, Kaito weighed 7.5 pounds, but 1.5 pounds of that was a rare cervical teratoma, a non-cancerous tumour on the side of his neck and head.

Aweek later, a special Sick Kids Hospital team of ear, nose and throat surgeons, plastic surgeons, a nerve specialist, anesthetis­ts and nurses successful­ly separated the tumour from Kaito.

This week, his parents described the emotional roller-coaster they rode to get there, a story with painful recollecti­ons that still bring tears to Suzuki’s eyes.

The story ultimately ends with smiles as the couple looks at a squirmy, gurgling Kaito watching his sister, Reina, 2, play in a small hospital room.

 ?? STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR ??
STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR

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