WAYNE COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — A child from Wayne who has already had four open-heart surgeries before his first birthday finally got to come home.

Jennifer Merritt, the mother, says Steele Merritt was born on Sept. 28, 2021, with Transposition of the Great Arteries.

The CDC says Transposition of the Great Arteries is a critical congenital heart defect where the two main arteries carrying blood out of the heart are switched. This causes oxygen-poor blood to be put back into the body instead of going to the lungs.

Steele had three open-heart surgeries before he turned two months old. After his third surgery on Nov. 25, 2021, Steele was put on a Berlin machine to take the work off the left side of his heart. He was put on the heart transplant list.

Steele then had a stroke just over a week later on Dec. 3 and became inactive on the heart transplant list. Two weeks later, Steele was put back on the list after an evaluation.

Jennifer Merritt was at the hospital with Steele when she was told a heart had been accepted for Steele.

“I screamed and cried and just couldn’t believe what she had told me. They had accepted a heart for Steele,” says Jennifer Merritt in a message.

Steele, Jennifer, Seth, Steele’s father, and his brothers and sisters, were able to celebrate in one room.

Steele then got his heart on April 27, 2022. Steele’s family got to see him about a day later. For about three months, Steele’s family had to stay in the hospital or within a 40-mile radius.

On Sunday, Steele was able to come home.

“After 292 days we brought him home,” Jennifer Merritt says.

Three fire trucks escorted the Merritt family back home, and, once they got closer to Wayne, an ambulance and two more fire trucks joined in.

Jennifer says from Lavalette to Wayne, people were out with signs and balloons, cheering for Steele.

According to Jennifer, Steele coming home was also a special birthday present for his grandmother, who has been battling cancer.

She says Steele’s grandmother’s birthday was on the day he came home and the grandmother says it was the best birthday present she could have got.