Near-drowning survivor to mark special birthday

CLEMENTON, N.J. - July 17, 2013

It's a milestone that one year ago doctors didn't think he'd make.

It was July 3rd of last year when family members say the child had wandered off and was found face down in a relative's swimming pool.

"I still remember the day like it was yesterday, the call I got," said Gabriel's dad, Gabriel Colon, Sr.

"I did CPR the whole time till the ambulance got there," said Bernadette Land, Gabriel's grandmother.

"When she pulled him up, his whole face was blue," said Gabriel's mom, Shakellah Land.

"His MRI showed that he was 45 minutes without oxygen to the brain," said Bernadette.

Family members say doctors pronounced him dead at the hospital.

But shortly after, by some major miracle, their little man came back to life.

From that moment on, this now-thriving little boy has been progressing in the fast lane, proving his doctors wrong.

"His eyesight came back 100 percent normal," said Bernadette. "The doctors say they've never seen anything like that. He's supposed to be staring into space."

But this boy is active and not slowing down.

While Gabe doesn't remember his second birthday because he was still in bad shape at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, he's now very aware and very happy that Saturday will be his day.

He's ready to hand out the party favors. His parents and grandparents are right there with him.

"Just to see the look on my son's face," said his dad, "he knows it's his party. He talks about it every day."

"I've never seen anybody as strong as him," he said. "Never seen anybody like my son."

Saturday will be a major celebration of life for 3-year-old Gabriel, and he's excited to be joined by 60 of his closest family members and friends at Clementon Park in New Jersey.

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