On the playground at Washington School, nine-year-old Marcus Solt is a typical boy playing tag, catch and soccer. But to his parents, Bryan and Stefanie of Marshfield, Marcus is nothing short of a miracle.
Born in Monrovia, Liberia, an impoverished African country that has experienced a devastatingly violent civil war, Marcus experienced life that included limited access to basic necessities, including clean drinking water. At the age of 4½, Marcus found what he thought was water and took a drink. This simple act would change his life forever, as the water turned out to be lye, a poisonous cleanser used to wash clothes in his country.
The lye caused significant burns to this little boy's mouth and esophagus. The injury left him unable to swallow, and by the age of five, he weighed only 21 pounds. Six months later, Marcus' life would again change forever - he was adopted by a loving American family in Marshfield, Wisconsin. He became Marcus Solt, son of Bryan and Stefanie.
Living in Wisconsin not only gave Marcus a new family, but it allowed him to have access to the best medical care for his damaged esophagus. During the first year after his adoption, Marcus had approximately 20 outpatient surgeries aimed at opening his esophagus.
"During each visit a Child Life Specialist would greet Marcus in the waiting area and escort him to the pre-op room," shared Stefanie. "Once asleep, the Child Life Specialist would then connect with us in the waiting room."
The first few procedures allowed Marcus to begin swallowing thin liquids. The following surgeries proved challenging due to the extent of the injury. After nearly a year of procedures, Marcus' esophagus was removed and his stomach repositioned. Additional outpatient procedures followed on a regular basis.
"Children's Miracle Network has helped create a positive experience during very unpleasant circumstances," said Stefanie. "They allowed Marcus to look back at his times at the Clinic and Hospital and have positive memories. He looks forward to seeing the Child Life Specialist and the time they spend with him."
Marcus now lives the life of many American children. He enjoys his siblings including brothers Alex, Eli and Sam and sister, Karis. He also enjoys the simple pleasures many of us take for granted, such as food, shelter and clean drinking water.
According to his parents, 'miracle' means the chance to live and enjoy life in a way they never thought possible. Marcus Solt is truly a miracle.