ARIZONA (WTXF) - Last year around Christmastime, we brought you the story of baby Knox after a photo of little boy for asking Santa to pray with him for a sick baby went viral.
Four-year-old Prestyn Barnette was photographed asking Santa for a miracle, and praying with Saint Nick for baby Knox Joseph, then 2-months-old and on life support.
One year later, Knox's fight continues, and his family has never had more faith and hope in his future.
A year ago Wednesday, Knox was found not breathing in his crib by his father. His father gave him CPR and was able to revive him.
"I walked in through our garage door into the kitchen to see Knox on the counter with Carl doing CPR. It was the most horrifying sight I've ever had to see. I just started screaming 'No, no, no, not my baby, not my baby," Knox's mother Mindi recalled.
Knox was taken to the hospital where he was stabilized, and then later flown to Sunrise Children's Hospital in Las Vegas. The family was there for 24 days, until December 23, 2015.
Mindi tells FOX 29 a cause was never identified and Knox’s condition was labeled SIDS-Interrupted. Several brain death exams were performed on Knox, and the first exam results led doctors to believe he was brain-dead. Practices in Nevada dictate that a second brain-death test would be done 12-hours after the first, and if the result was the same, the ruling would be finalized.
Ahead of the second test, the Stine family brought their older children to the hospital to say goodbye to their baby brother and prayed for the best.
The next day, the second test was done and the results were different. When Knox was removed from his ventilator the family witnessed a miracle. Knox took a breath, and then took a few more.
Each breath brought hope to Knox's family.
Inconsistent test results, along with a brain scan that showed that blood was still flowing to Knox's low brain, meant the young boy was not legally brain dead.
This left the Stine family with a heart wrenching choice. They could declare baby Knox braindead themselves based on his low quality of life. Carl and Mindi relied on prayer, and say they sought God to help them do what was right.
"We decided together that we could not take away those breaths Knox had because we weren't giving him those breaths. We didn't form that little babe in my womb, God did. He is God's and in God's hands. We knew we couldn't take his life away, no matter the quality," Mindi explained.
Knox's release from the hospital came just days after the photo of Prestyn and Santa went viral. The “Team Knox Joseph” Facebook page announced his homecoming, and asked for continued prayers.
At the time, Knox's mother, Mindi, wrote on Facebook, "Please keep praying for us, pray for sweet Knox, and all our family," adding, "It's a long road ahead. I need God's help to be strong and be confident in tense situations to care for Knox and make good decisions. It's all so new to us and we are learning and practicing all we can."
Since then, Mindi says "so much, yet so little" has happened.
She described the beginning months as horrific as they lived in constant fear that his alarms would go off. But other days brought new hope, like the day they say his pointer finger on his left hand move up and down. It was the first time he had moved since he had been brought home.
Setbacks like lung infections have been followed by signs of hope for the last twelve months, including Knox breathing on his own over his ventilator, at times breathing on his own for hours. His parents see that as a measure of the fight Knox has in him.
Knox can now move his head back and forth and even stabilize his head when he is sitting up. Doctors say he has vision, but his pupils don't have any normal response yet.
His family has so much hope for his future.
"We believe God loves Knox and can bring healing to his body. As long as Knox fights we will also fight for him," Mindi said.
Through connections and community outreach, the family has been able to give Knox Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments that he has responded well to. Kindness from strangers has also led the family to receive a hospital grade Hyperbaric Chamber that is being delivered to their home later this week.
Over the last year, Knox has also begun receiving stem cell therapy injections. The family believes the injections and Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy has helped Knox gain more strength, and body control.
"His normal response to us when he might see us or he can hear our voice is to start breathing over the ventilator. We believe it's his way of letting us know he's here with us," Mindi explained.
These therapies were funded with the help of donations from followers on the “Team Knox Joseph” Facebook page, who have been following the family's journey.
"His movements and his efforts to breathe and make progress seem slow at times but when we think about where we started one year ago we never knew any of this could even be possible. He's our little miracle and he continues to show us little miracles each day," Mindi added, "We will continue to keep fighting for Knox but more importantly -- kneeling for Knox. Trusting and waiting on our good Father above to work His perfect will for all of us."