9-year-old boy gets homecoming surprise during birthday celebration


SCOTIA, N.Y. (NewsNation Now) — A New York boy was given the surprise of a lifetime by his mom after his grandfather fell ill during the coronavirus pandemic, NewsNation affiliate WTEN reported.

Keri Pratico’s son Daniel turned 9 years old on Saturday.

Several months ago, Pratico’s father was diagnosed with a very rare, inoperable cancerous abdominal tumor. During the diagnosis and many radiation treatments, Pratico said Daniel was nothing short of amazing in lifting his grandfather’s spirits.

“It was a hard diagnosis to hear because we actually found it on a fluke,” she said. “He had no symptoms, it didn’t show up on blood work that I know of, and it was really hard to hear and to hear it was inoperable for a very long time.”

As Pratico put it, “2020 has been one heck of a year for everyone, that’s for sure.” But she and her son kept positive thoughts throughout the difficult journey.

In the time leading up to Daniel’s birthday, the family received some good news that his grandfather’s tumor was, in fact, operable.

A surgery was then scheduled for Oct. 19 out of state, which meant Daniel wouldn’t have his best friend there for his birthday.

In order to keep their loved one safe, the family had to be extremely careful when it came to taking care of him — which meant no birthday bash for Daniel.

Determined to make her son’s big day special, Pratico asked a few family friends to drive by the house and wish him a happy birthday.

The idea quickly grew into something much larger, involving additional family friends along with some help from the local fire department where Pratico’s father had volunteered for many years.

Pratico said Daniel had no idea what was in store for him, including the fact that his grandfather had been released early from the hospital the day before and would be waiting at the house to surprise him.

Daniel said the presents he unwrapped doesn’t compare to that feeling he had when he took off his blindfold to give his grandfather a big hug.

“The best one I ever got,” said Daniel.

Pratico said the surprise was perfect.

“It was the best reaction ever from both of them, I think we’ll cherish this for a long time,” she said.

NewsNation affiliate WTEN contributed to this report.

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