PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The annual Children’s Hospital Free Care Friends Telethon is quickly approaching, and leading up to it, KDKA is taking a look at the amazing work the doctors and nurses do there to help the tiniest patients.

KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson has one young patient’s story of survival.

Elliana Cicconi, a little girl with a musical name, looks so tiny in her cot in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit at Children’s Hospital.

Her mom, dad and big sister, Lily, look on from a photo tucked beside her.

Born just a month ago, Elliana’s family learned that something wasn’t quite right during a routine ultrasound at 37-weeks.

Weighing four-pounds, 13-ounces, Elliana was born with upper airway and respiratory problems, a paralyzed vocal cord and cleft palate. Her first days of life were a tangle of tubes and a series of surgeries to give her an artificial trachea and feeding tube.

“My second day here I realized that she’s been through more in two days than I’d been through my whole life,” said John Cicconi, Elliana’s dad. “It’s amazing just what she can handle and what she’s had to fight through.”

Doctors say she is now breathing all on her own.

With the support of family, prayers, and doctors and nurses, it becomes easier to believe that all will be well.

“She’s had some bumps in the road,” says Dr. Melissa Riley, a neonatologist. “Ideally, she won’t have many more, but it will be a course for her throughout her entire life.”

Such a long journey for such a little girl, but then every journey begins with a single step.

“It could be a lot worse, just get her home for Christmas,” said Emily Cicconi, Elliana’s mom.

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