Oak Lawn toddler goes home after nearly 3 years in the hospital

A suburban Chicago family is celebrating a big homecoming Tuesday, as a toddler boy headed home for the first time in his life.

"He’s two years and 10 months, and he’s been in a hospital since he's been born. We’ve been waiting for this a long time, and it’s kind of surreal that it’s happening," said Maggie Sladick, Occupational Therapist, La Rabida Children's Hospital.

Francesco Bruno was pushed out of La Rabida Tuesday morning by his mother, as multiple staff members from the children's hospital gathered outside cheering. They were there to send off Francesco and his parents to their home in Oak Lawn.

This celebration is only possible because of years of hard work.

Francesco has a rare and complex condition called Skeletal Dysplasia. The genetic disorder specifically impacts Francesco's ribs, making it difficult for his lungs to grow properly. He's had several surgeries, visited multiple hospitals, and received ongoing rehab and intense therapy at La Rabida.


Seeing him leave brought many members of the hospital team to tears.

"I think as a team we’ve poured so much love and effort into Francesco’s development. This is the goal for all our kids, but it’s always bittersweet to have them leave and move on to their next adventure," said Sladick.

That next adventure is a big one for the Bruno family. The parents have been getting trained administering the care their son will need at home. As they got ready to drive home with their son, they said they were ready for the road ahead.

"We’re overjoyed and very, very happy and ready to start a new chapter, new adventure," said Priscila Zinnia Puente, Francesco’s mother.

The next chapter started with quite a homecoming. Six siblings were waiting in Oak Lawn to welcome their brother home.