A BRAVE Irish toddler is making a miraculous recovery from life-saving surgery in the US.
Sergio O'Connor (15 months) from Donnycarney, Dublin, has undergone three bouts of major surgery in a top Boston hospital in the past four months, and is now astonishing doctors with his recovery.
Sergio was born with an incomplete tract linking his mouth to his stomach and has been in Boston University Children's Hospital (BUCH) since April.
Surgeons were successfully able to repair the upper and lower parts of his oesophagus in a 10-hour operation, and the little boy then underwent follow-on surgery.
The surgical bid to reconnect Sergio's stomach, oesophagus and mouth was exceptionally painstaking, with doctors careful not to place too much strain on the delicate organs.
While Sergio still faces further surgery, the major procedures are complete and his recovery has been an inspiration both to his family and doctors.
He now faces the prospect of being able to live a near normal life if he can continue his pace of recovery.
After months of watching their son on antibiotics and painkillers, Sergio's parents, Donal and Rosa, revelled in their son's best form since entering BUCH and were able to celebrate US Independence Day.
"What a beautiful day for the O'Connor family. Mammy got to hold Sergio and gave him copious amounts of hugs and kisses, which he really cherished," Donal said.
"It was lovely to see the power of a mother's love for her son as they interacted so naturally and beautifully together with huge smiles for each other."
The only drawback for the O'Connor's is that Sergio's twin brother, Tadhg, isn't too keen on Rosa devoting all her attention to his twin.
"Tadhg was busy happily exploring Sergio's colourful room and helped himself to his brothers many toys.
"(But) Tadhg got very jealous when Sergio was getting all of mammy's loving attention," Donal said.
Donal has been supported in Boston by his parents, with his father, Mick, admitting that it has been a tough time for the entire family.
"It is hard to watch your child and you are helpless to comfort them," Mick said.
Sergio was flown to Boston on the Government jet last April after waiting a year to be strong enough for his surgery.
Donal said the family have been totally overwhelmed by messages of support and one of the biggest fundraising campaigns ever mounted in Ireland.
Donal - a talented traditional musician - has seen Sergio's appeal supported by artists including Frances Black, The Dubliners and Damian Dempsey.