PENNSYLVANIA, February 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Ryan Marquiss, now three years old, was diagnosed with two rare heart conditions when his mother Leighann was twelve weeks pregnant. Although Leighann and Ryan’s father Henry were told by doctors that no child had survived these conditions and advised the parents to abort him, they chose instead to hope for the best and rejected abortion.

Doctors said that Ryan had only half a heart, called hypoplastic right heart syndrome. This was compounded by ectopia cordis, where his heart protruded from his chest cavity, covered only by a thin membrane.

“The doctors told us that no baby with Ryan’s combination of defects had ever survived, so the fact that he is here with us today, is just amazing. He really has astounded everyone,” Leighann told the Daily Mail.

“We wanted to let nature take its course, so we refused to have the termination,” Leighann said. “We knew it would be a miracle if he survived the birth but we were unwilling to take matters into our own hands.”

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The Marquiss’s revealed that Ryan was born by caesarian section at the Children’s National Medical Centre in Washington at the end of February, 2009, with a team of 30 medical professionals in attendance.

“All the odds were stacked against him. We knew that it was a miracle that he had been born alive with his heart outside his body, but then to have another life-threatening condition of only having half a heart meant that everything was against him surviving,” Leighann said.

“But he was alive and we just had to pray that he would carry on fighting.”

Ryan’s first surgery at two weeks involved placing a shunt in his heart to ensure proper circulation. This was followed by more than a dozen operations over the next two years.

“He just kept on fighting. He refused to die, and he kept on proving everyone wrong,” Leighann recalled.

The Marquiss’s remarked that their son may need further operations, possibly including a heart transplant sometime in the future, but that his life so far has been astounding, and a blessing to his parents and two sisters.

“He really is a medical miracle. When I look at him running around the playground and playing on the climbing wall, I praise God. Every day with Ryan is one we were told we wouldn’t have. So we cherish each moment,” Leighann said.

You can follow Ryan’s progress at the family’s blog here.