Like any other 3-year-old boy, Charlie Anderson is reaching all his milestones. He loves reading books, playing with his favorite toys and cuddling with his older brother Jack and older sister Zoe. Though he's not always as peaceful as he seems. Around his family, he's known as "Hurricane Charlie" for his rambunctious character. "He's a miracle, he's a true true miracle," said Cindy Anderson. Charlie's family consider him a miracle, because of everything he's endured.
He was born at 25 weeks in November 2019, weighing only about 16 ounces. He is what doctors call, a micro-preemie. Get Chicago local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Chicago newsletters. "I had to wait until he was 21 days old to meet him. He was so tiny and so fragile," said Anderson.
"It was like a three-man job to get him out of the ventilator and transfer him to me and then once I was there I couldn’t move." Charlie spent 147 days at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Central Dupage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois, until he was able to breath on his own. That meant his siblings didn't get to meet him until he was 5 months old. "They were like, 'Mom, that was the hardest thing we've ever gone through' and I was like 'I'm sorry!'" said Anderson. Fast forward to life now, Charlie and his siblings are as close as ever.
The family just celebrated Charlie's third birthday with a baby shark themed party. "It’s unbelievable… he’s climbing up everywhere, goes to the playground, you know... he’s everywhere, singing songs and he’s doing so so good," said Anderson. Charlie does face some health challenges from being born at such a premature age.
He suffers from Chronic Lung Disease from being on oxygen for so long. However, his mom says he's a healthy little boy and they feel so blessed. "He’s just doing so good, that I just wanted to give hope and just tell his story," Anderson said. "He’s just a true survivor." The Andersons say it's not lost on them how many families are spending the holidays in the hospital for similar reasons.
They pray those family also have a positive outcome. "I know we’re very, very, very blessed for Charlie and we can only hope for the best for everyone else too," Cindy Anderson said said.