Baby born with cancer becomes first infant to undergo life-saving procedure

MILWAUKEE, WI (WTMJ/CNN) — A baby born with cancer covering most of his liver underwent a miracle procedure that saved his life.

Dominic Gibson can sleep peacefully now, and so can his parents, who endured a lot of sleepless nights.

“I was in shock, and sometimes I’m still in shock,” said Ashley Gibson, Dominic’s mother. “I have to stop and think my son was born with cancer. I don’t want to believe it, you know.”

Dominic was born with a cancerous tumor covering 80 percent of his liver, and started chemotherapy when he was only a few days old.

But waiting for a transplant was too risky because the cancer could grow and spread, while removing the tumor would have left him with too small of a liver to survive.

So Dr. Johnny Hong tried something that no doctor had ever performed on a baby.

He went in and cut off the blood supply to the tumor and isolated the healthy part of the liver so it could keep growing.

Once the liver had grown, Hong went back in and removed the tumor.

Now Dominic is cancer-free.

“It’s been a very rough road,” said Adam Gibson, Dominic’s father. “If it were up to me, I would have definitely traded places with him.”

Every sneeze and every smile brings a renewed sense of joy and gratitude.

“He’s not even five months old and he’s taught me so much,” Ashley Gibson said. “He’s my hero. He’s taught me how to be brave. How to overcome fears. How to stay strong and how to just face challenges and how to overcome it. Just the will to survive.”

Adam Gibson is simply grateful his son has the opportunity for a normal life.

“He’s just amazing to me. I look at him and I just see this perfect little miracle child,”he said. “I can’t wait to show him the world and teach him everything.”