Baby Ethan Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: It has been a rollercoaster of a year for the Meneses family.

When Romeo Meneses looked at his tiny baby for the first time, he was happy to see his son, but knew that the next few months were not going to be easy.

Ethan, was born at just 23 weeks and 4 days — and weighed only 650grams.

He almost didn’t make it and his parents were prepared for the worst.

With hospital bills piling up, the Meneses were helpless.

However, a “miracle” in the form of an anonymous donor, helped the family in their time of need, after reading the Gulf News report on baby Ethan.

“I will always be grateful to Gulf News,” said Meneses, in an interview.

Baby Ethan celebrated his first birthday last week. While he is doing much better, there is still a long way to go. We asked Meneses about the grueling 12-month journey.

He said: “We prayed together and so did our friends. We kept our faith.” He said that their family turned to God and hoped he would guide Ethan and save his life.

He added: “It is really miracle because Ethan survived despite several complications and the many operations he’s be been through.”

When Ethan was born, he was premature and was immediately put in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Prime Hospital. He faced many complications, including bleeding in the brain, respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, inguinal hernia, neonatal convulsions and more.

In addition to this, the Meneses did not have any insurance for their son and found themselves drowning in medical bills.

“We approached many people, our friends and family, and publications for help with donations and we received a few. However, only after approaching Gulf News did things get better,” Meneses said.

Baby Ethan with his parents.

After Gulf News published their plea for help in March, an anonymous UAE businessman paid more than half a million dirhams for baby Ethan’s treatment.

“When we approached Gulf News, I told my wife that whatever was the outcome, we would accept it. When the hospital told me that someone had paid almost Dh500,000 to help me, I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to cry.”

He immediately called up his friends and family to tell them the good news.

“Ethan is a smiling baby. He is talkative and loves to jump around. He’s also starting to crawl.”

Baby Ethan has recovered in the past year and doctors are satisfied with his physical condition. However, his eyesight is yet to improve and he keeps going for regular check-ups to University Hospital Sharjah.

“I really appreciate the help and my family and I are so thankful to Gulf News. I wish I could meet the person who actually donated the money. I would like him to meet my son so that he can see what he did for us.”

Meneses admits that while the donations did help the pinch in their pocket, they still require monetary aid to carry on with the treatment.