2017 GABR Star Each year, a child is chosen to serve as the ambassador for the race.
Colton Byrnes, Age 2Sioux Falls, SD
Sioux Falls, SD
Aubrey and Rick call their son Colton, "Superman without a cape."
Once you've heard the story of this brave 2-year-old, you'll understand why.
Colton was born with a rare heart condition called Truncus arteriosus Type 2, which means he was missing a vital artery. He also was missing a rib and had a tethered spinal cord, underdeveloped lungs and an additional big toe. Because of his heart and lung issues, Colton couldn't breathe on his own and needed to be intubated at birth.
At just 3 days old, Colton underwent his first open heart surgery. The doctors placed a conduit to create the artery he was born without.
After the surgery, Colton was diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis, which meant a second open heart surgery, and then a third.
Aubrey and Rick can’t describe the feeling they have to this day, having such incredible care so close to home during the most difficult journey of their life. Not only did Sanford Children's care for their son, but Children's Miracle Network provided funding to help curb their travel and lodging costs.
Today, Colton is a spunky and loving toddler. He steals hearts with his smile and Superman-worthy bravery.