Phoenix girl celebrates second birthday after near-death experience, 10-day coma

The little girl who defied the odds, Joy celebrates turning two.

Joy Loboda probably won’t remember her second birthday party but almost every else there will. The massive celebration included family and friends and a few people you probably wouldn’t expect at a 2-year-old’s party.

“We wanted to invite everyone, all the people who helped her,” said Kristin Loboda.

So along with kids running and screaming, there were doctors, nurses, police officers and firefighters. All of them came to wish Joy a happy birthday and marvel what most are calling a miracle.

“Definitely a miracle,” said Kristin Loboda.

It was just a five months ago when Joy slipped away and fell into her grandparent’s pool, “When she came out of the pool, and I was giving her CPR, she was gone,” said Matt Loboda.

In the pool, anywhere from two to eight minutes Joy wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse. The little girl was transported to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“It was really grim,” said Matt Loboda.

Joy spent the next 10 days in a medically induced coma. The little girl was hooked up to wires and machines.

“It was scary, it was real hard,” said Kristin Loboda.

The family spent much of that time praying and hoping for a miracle.

“I talked to God and told him that I knew she was his child but that she was also mine and now is not the right time,” said Matt Loboda.

What role that played in her recovery is unknown but after just more than a week in that medical coma, Joy woke up and seemed to be just fine.

“It was amazing and emotional,” said Matt Loboda.

The family says aside from a problem with a blood clot in her left leg and some numbness, Joy is perfectly fine.

“I have my Joy back,” said Matt Loboda.

Wearing a pale pink dress and a smile that could melt ice, Joy giggled, laughed and hugged her way around a party for her.

“When I see her, it’s hard not to cry and smile at the same time,” said Kristin Loboda.

One of the firefighters who helped save Joy’s life can’t explain her survival much less her rapid recovery.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Captain James Dishong. He’s not the only one amazed by how a little girl who went at least eight minutes without breathing is playing and laughing just a few months later.

When you first look at Joy, you can’t see any signs of what happened back in December, but get closer and you see a scar on her left leg. The scar is in the shape of a cross.

“There is something more to this story,” said Matt Loboda. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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