PRIOR LAKE, Minn. -- If you happen to drive through Chris Lykken's neighborhood in Prior Lake, you'll notice every mailbox, and many doors and windows, adorned with a comic-book superhero's shield.
"There have been times I've come up to the neighborhood and I haven't been as strong as I should have been, or felt as positive," the father of three admits.
"Like Chris said, you have a bad day and you come home and you see all those signs, it's just... it's amazing," Chris' wife Lisa explained. The couple's youngest child, 4-year-old Chase, nearly drowned after falling into a cruise ship pool in Florida on March 30.
"Lisa went to grab some sunscreen lotion to put on Chase and he was gone and we began looking for him and when we found him someone was doing CPR on him after they pulled him out of the pool," Chris Lykken recalls.
Investigators, who call the incident a tragic accident, estimate Chase was underwater for at least five minutes. "When we first discussed the MRI (with doctors in Orlando), it didn't look good. There was a lot of brain damage, extensive brain damage, and we were told that it's probably not going to get any better than this, that we need to prepare ourselves," Lykken explained.
But it did get better. The 4-year-old continues to fight, and progress. Initially, he was in a vegetative state; now he is smiling and pressing buttons as he continues his occupational therapy at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, where he remains in the hospital.
"And you watch his eyes and you can see that he's trying and fighting," Chris said. "There's tons of hope through his eyes," Lisa added.
While it might be difficult to find the source of Chase's superhero strength, a look inside the child's hospital room reveals where his parents find some of their strength. There isn't a foot of empty space on the walls and the ledges, which are filled with stuffed animals, jerseys, cards and posters, sent in by the hundreds, from supporters.
"They probably can't comprehend how much it's meant to us. There have been so many times that it has literally picked us up and kept our heads in the right spot," Chase's father said. It should be more than noted that the Lykkens also get a significant amount of strength and support from their other two children, 9-year-old Tanner and 7-year-old Ava.
Meanwhile, support on the worldwide web continues to pour in from every corner of the globe. The Chase Lykken Facebook page had almost 7,500 likes and the child's CaringBridge site has hosted almost 300,000 visits. The sites feature Captain America's battle shield, adopted by supporters as a symbol of Chase's strength.
"He's a fighter. He's a stubborn little 4-year-old that wants his way and I think he's going to get his way. Yep, he's a fighter," mom Lisa concluded.
"I sat there on the deck of that pool and I prayed to God, please give me my son back and he did that and he did more than that. I'm going to be bringing him home soon," Chris Lykken said.
Right now it looks like Chase will return home for good on June 28.
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