ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- KTTC is honored to introduce viewers monthly to some of the youngest among us, facing the unthinkable with bravery and optimism. In our fourth "Kids With Courage" segment, Caitlin Alexander introduces us to 12-year-old Kydon Black.
Kydon, along with his parents and two brothers, video-chatted with Caitlin from his home in Milaca, Minnesota. He shared a little about his interests, including that he loves to ice fish.
When he asked what he wanted for Christmas this year, he responded, "Ho ho ho!" He isn't picky about what's under the tree. He just wants Santa to come.
After mere minutes, it was apparent that Kydon is guaranteed to make Santa's nice list.
Kydon has Down syndrome. He has battled a series of serious medical issues since he was only a few weeks old.
It all began with a heart condition. Since that time, Kydon's father, Scott, said they have lost count of how many surgeries he has had.
"He's had ear surgeries and eyes, and ENTs, and the neck and heart. There's been a lot," his mother, Karleen, explained.
Mayo Clinic's website reports people with Down syndrome can experience a variety of medical complications, but that routine medical care and treatment of issues can help with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Kydon was only 2 when his parents and big brothers started making the three-hour trip with him to Rochester.
Mayo Clinic offered one location where they could address a variety of issues.
They come back every year, and believe it or not, Kydon looks forward to it.
"Even when we spend a week or two every summer at Mayo, he is poked and prodded. He sees so many doctors and goes through so much pain, and he will do this. He will smile. He will joke," Karleen said.
Pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Nicholas Wetjen now practices in Iowa but performed multiple spine procedures on Kydon in Rochester.
"He just took it all in stride," he explained. "I never heard him complain about it at all."
The Black family has found a second home at the Ronald McDonald House.
It's a familiar place with familiar faces and lots of fun activities for Kydon.
Kydon told us he loves to play with balls there and eat tasty ice cream.
2020 has brought it's own set of challenges for the Black family.
They have to be very careful with the threat of COVID-19. Kydon has an immune deficiency.
With many students now in distance learning, Kydon is actually able to attend school in-person more to get his services.
"It's just hard, but we know that if has symptoms, we make a trip to Mayo," Karleen said.
But the only trip on anyone's radar right now is the one from the North Pole. Kydon and his family wish all of our viewers a very happy holiday season.