It was pretty clear from day one that Walker Colt Pruett was a fighter. He was born at just 26 weeks and weighed in at an impossibly small 1 pound, 3 ounces — too tiny and fragile for even his mother to hold. But now, after spending three months in the neonatal intensive care unit at North Carolina's Forsyth Medical Center, being watched over day and night by his parents and a team of caring nurses, Walker has made it to an impressive 5 pounds. And his journey there has been nothing short of incredible.
But thanks to the folks at Capturing Hope Photography, Walker's first 100 days have been captured forever. As part of "Project 100 Days," Capturing Hope lovingly chronicled every single day of the little boy's life and pieced it together for one truly touching time-lapse video. (It's also set to Ingrid Michaelson's heart-tugger "Everybody," which somehow makes the whole thing even more emotional.)
As the video reminds us, there are some 15 million babies born prematurely every year — and many of them are "micro preemies," just like Walker. But sadly, one in five of these babies doesn't survive; a fact that makes Walker's incredible journey all the more inspiring.
Watch below as the little guy transforms — shedding all his tubes, saying goodbye to the incubator, and finally, coming home after 80 long days.
Better get the tissues ready.
You can catch up on Walker's progress (or just see more adorable images of the little guy) over on his mom's blog. As she writes in one of her posts, the opportunity to see her son's amazing growth has been a "gift" like no other. And it's all thanks to Deneen Bryan, the photographer behind Capturing Hopes Photography.
Nearly 20 years ago, Bryan's own daughter, Christina, passed away at just 4 months old, after undergoing several surgeries. But before her daughter died, a photographer happened to stop by the hospital and snap a photo of Bryan's family, including Christina.
"After [Christina] passed away, we got the photos in the mail," Bryan recently told The Blaze. "That’s when I really realized how important those photos were. That was our only professional photo that we had of our family at the time."
The meaning of that one simple photo has stayed with Bryan all these years, and is what ultimately inspired her to capture these same precious moments for others. While Walker was just the first baby to be a part of "Project 100 Days," Bryan's hope is that she'll be capturing many more, as they make their journeys from NICU to nursery.