The “Little Angel” Who Survived Drowning
By Zsa Zsa Palagyi
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“I had turned for just a second and he was gone,” remembers Colby Knifong.
Missing was 17-month-old Kennisen Knifong, who had been with his mother Colby, in her garden.
She recalls, “I was just physically ill, because we always had a thing that I’d call his name and he’d (reply), ‘Right here momma. I’m right here.’ And he didn’t answer back.”
After quickly scanning the area, Colby ran to the front of her property in Enterprise, Oregon. There, she saw it: Kennisen’s tiny footprint, leading to a 30-foot drop-off into the creek below
“I just remember literally screaming out, ‘Dear Jesus, wherever he’s at, please just let him breathe. Please! This is my baby,” Colby cries. She continues, “and I don’t want to lose him.’”
Colby frantically searched the creek, which was icy and swollen from the winter thaw. By now she had called the sheriff’s department. Undersheriff Steve Rogers arrived within minutes to take over the search.
He says, “I jumped in, and I turned around upstream, and I was told, ‘Stop, turn around, and look.’ I can tell you, I’d never heard this voice before. So I did. I turned around and looked, and at the bottom of this log I saw what I thought were fishing lures stuck on the log. And I ran down there, and it was Kennisen. So I reached down and grabbed him by his feet and pulled him up so his head would be down, and no water came out of his lungs. I mean he was obviously deceased.”
Colby adds, “I just remember hitting the ground and not wanting to get up. You know this is my fault, and I didn’t want to go on with life because my son was dead.”
An off-duty doctor heard about the accident over a scanner and came to help with CPR. Then an ambulance rushed Kennisen to the local hospital, where friends had gathered to pray. Meanwhile, medical staff tried to save the toddler’s life. Kristi Wade was on duty that day.
She reports, “He had no vital signs whatsoever. No pulse. No blood pressure. Very few people survive a situation like that.”
Kennisen’s father Ken arrived soon after. He recollects with tears in his eyes, “It was hard knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to take him hunting and fishing and some of the things that a dad wants to do with their son.”
After over two hours of CPR, they finally got a heartbeat. Kennisen was life-flighted to St. Luke’s Boise medical center, where he remained on life support. Doctors gave Ken and Colby their devastating report.
Colby recounts hearing the news, “’Even if he comes out of this, most likely he’s going to not have brain activity. He’s not going to be able to walk. He’s not going to be able to talk. His organs are all shut down. We’ll give him 48 hours to see if anything can happen, but we’re just letting you know the prognosis is not good.’”
But there was one doctor who told them there was still hope. Ken shares, “The head doctor said, ‘I believe in miracles. I’ve seen miracles happen, and you guys just need to pray and you need to get everybody that you know praying,’ and so that’s what we did.”
Doctors put Kennisen into an induced coma. As Colby continued to pray, she says God told her she had to let go of her son.
She shares, “God said, ‘I need you on your knees, and I want you to lift your hands straight up, and I want you to give me your son. Kennisen has always been mine. You just have always clung on way to tight. And I remember having tears streaming down my face because – ultimate surrender. But I’m like, ‘Okay God, he’s yours.’ And right then and there, Kennisen tried to flip over in his bed because they had him restrained. And that was within five, six, seven seconds of offering him up to God, and boom – he moves.”
But the battle wasn’t over yet. Doctors were concerned that his brain and liver would swell.
“I just remember literally feeling like we were supposed to specifically pray for every negative they put up,” Colby says. “So his brain is supposed to swell, so we put our hands right on his little head and say ‘Dear Jesus, please don’t let his brain swell. Please keep his liver form swelling.’”
As the Knifongs and others pressed harder into their prayers, Kennisen’s vital signs started improving, and he was moving more often. Three days after going into the hospital, he was taken off life support and brought out of his coma.
“He reached for me,” Colby smiles, “and he just snuggled right into me, and I was like, ‘He’s going to be fine!’ They did a CAT scan and there was no swelling, and they did the MRIs and everything they said just was not—just did not happen!” She adds, “He had an immediate recovery, and he was already walking around, talking to the little kids, pushing them. A lot of people referred to him as their ‘little angel’ because they truly had never seen such a miraculous recovery in such a short time.”
Kennisen returned home with no complications from the drowning.
Colby says, “About six months later we were back home walking up our road and he found a culvert, and he said, ‘Momma I went through this.’ And I said, ‘You remember this?’ And he said, ‘Yeah momma, me call for you, you no hear me.’ And I teared up, and I said, ‘Oh honey, Momma was looking for you.’” She continues with the dialogue she had with Kennisen, “‘No momma, you no hear me, but something was with me.’ And that was the end of it. Something was with him. You can’t go from what we went through, to getting back your son and not call it a miracle!”
Steve Rogers from the Sheriff’s department adds, “I’m not what you would consider the most spiritual person on the planet, but that day most definitely made a believer out of me.”
To this day, people still talk about Kennisen Knifong—the boy who died and came back to life. Now, he’s an active, healthy teenager.
With his dog by his side and his tree fort in the distance, Kennisen says, “I do basketball, soccer, baseball, wrestling, football, track. When I grow up, I want to go into fish biology.”
Kristi Wade, who remembers seeing Kennisen without a pulse in the ER says, “Every time I see Kennisen now that he’s older and a teenager, it’s a good feeling. It’s amazing.”
Kennisen’s father concludes, “God is so powerful. He can change anything. We can’t give up hope. You just have to believe with all your heart that God is going to give you that miracle.”
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