3-year-old Greeley boy recovering after fourth heart surgery; how to help

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DENVER -- A 3-year-old Greeley boy is recovering in a Denver hospital after his fourth open heart surgery. Wyatt Penick’s parents hope this will allow him to be a normal little boy.

Wyatt was born two months early. Doctors at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children knew before his birth that he had an AV canal defect.

Dr. Michael Pettersen from Rocky Mountain Pediatric Cardiology said, “The left side of his heart was so severely underdeveloped, in fact so small, it can’t support a normal circulation.”

Wyatt’s father, Marc said, “He’s already doing better. He took 10 steps today.”

Wyatt has been through more than most adults. On top of the surgeries, he lost his mother to a complication from diabetes when he was a baby.

“He keeps going, never quits," his father said. "He’s got better pain tolerance than most adults by now.”

Abbey Hibbard, the boy's mother, said, “The struggles that he has been through, you wouldn’t even notice it. That boy is so strong, and he has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met.”

His family, including his 8-month-old brother, moved from Greeley to Denver to be by his side.

His father will have to take several weeks off work, unpaid.

“It’s stressful not knowing if we are going to be able to make the mortgage payment next month," Abbey said. "Whenever we get home knowing if our boys will have normal healthy life with food electricity it’s tough. We don’t want the stress of being able to say what can’t we pay this month? Especially with Christmas coming up ... it’s tough.”

They said they will find a way to get through this. And they said if Wyatt feels just a little better, it will all be worth it.

“I’m so proud of him, we weren’t sure there for a while if he was going to pull through, but he’s got the best team in the world from what I can tell working on him,” Marc said.

Added Abbey: “He’s incredible. He’s our little superhero ... and we hope this is going to be his forever heart.”

To help Wyatt and his family you can see how on their GoFundMe page.