Amanda Skorjanc : Baby Duke perseveres after surviving landslide – Watch

Amanda Skorjanc : Baby Duke perseveres after surviving landslide - Watch

Amanda Skorjanc’s son, Duke Suddarth, was the youngest survivor of Oso mudslide that killed 43 people March 22, 2014

As the one-year anniversary of the landslide approaches, Amanda is opening up about her memories from that day and her family’s road to recovery.

“He is a light in something that was so dark and sad in a lot of people’s lives,” Skorjanc said. “He’s the light, the little bit of hope that everybody had.”

The past year has been a difficult road for the mother and son. Skorjanc, 25, said she is suffering from lingering pain. She has undergone 10 reconstructive surgeries.

Screws are still holding her ankle in place. As for Duke, the infant’s tiny skull was fractured by the force of the debris that decimated their home, she added. Doctors haven’t ruled out another surgery for him as he grows up.

“They checked him three months ago … and said they didn’t want to see him for a year, so that’s huge,” said Skorjanc, who still wears a cast on her left leg. “They said he’s doing great, his injuries are all healing up good.”

Others were not so lucky. The March 22 mudslide in Washington’s Stillaguamish River valley was one of the worst in U.S. history, destroying 49 structures. President Barack Obama declared it a federal disaster area. Relatives of those killed have filed a lawsuit against the state, the county and a logging company.

Skorjanc, who is planning to marry Duke’s father in August, said she’s anxious about the upcoming anniversary. She’s taking comfort that Duke is defying the odds. At 16 months old, he’s learning to walk. His milestones have included his first birthday and his first Christmas.

“The second I see him, I smile every morning,” Skorjanc said. “I want him to know how special he is, and I want him to know what a miracle it is to have him here.”