PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A high school wrestling match at Moon High School is a really big deal for a 14-year-old named Nathan.
However, two years ago, he started complaining of severe headaches.
“I just thought they were normal until I had some pain in my eye, and then they kept getting worse and worse. And I said to my mom, ‘This is not right,’” Nathan said.
In middle school, Nathan was diagnosed with a condition called Moyamoya. A doctor said neurosurgery was the only option to restore proper blood flow to his brain.
“He said, ‘You are going to go to Children’s,’ and I said okay. Then, he said ‘No, you are going to go tomorrow,” and I said ‘Oh,’ and without even saying the words, I knew he suspected something quite serious,” said Nathan’s mom. “It is one in four million. It’s very rare, and all those statistics really don’t mean a whole heck of a lot when you are dealing with your child.”
Dr. Stephanie Greene did the surgery at Children’s Hospital and Nathan came through with flying colors.
“To have to rely on somebody else for the life of your child, you are not quite sure what is going to happen. You don’t know what the outcome is going to be. All three times that I have had to do that here, I can’t imagine it every being a better circumstance,” Dr. Greene said
Three times? That’s right. Less than a week after Nathan’s surgery, his little brother David, had his second open heart surgery to repair a hole in his heart.
“Somewhat unexpected to be honest with you, but you know, we just went back through the same incision,” Dr. Victor Morrell said.
“Dr. Morrell told us it is incredibly rare for that to happen, but I’m used to rare,” Colleen, Nathan and David’s mother, said.
“I do have a son who also had a heart defect and had open heart surgery. So, I’m just not a surgeon, I’m the dad of a wonderful 8-year-old who is a tremendous kid who had open heart surgery and is doing great,” added Dr. Morrell.
Colleen said that’s just one of the things that makes Children’s Hospital special.
“The first time I had to hand David over as a baby to the nurse, she didn’t just take David, she wrapped us both in a hug. She put both of her arms all the way around me and my husband and she told me she would take care of him like her own,” Colleen said.
Now, David looks like just another little brother at the wrestling match – so active and full of life. His favorite thing is going to the park.
Dr. Morrell expects David to have a full and normal life,
Earlier this month, Nathan returned to competitive wrestling for the first time since brain surgery.
“Here at Children’s, they’ve got it all. They really have it all, and I’m picky, and I watched. They’ve got it all,” Colleen said.
The Free Care Fund Benefit Telethon is Thursday, Dec. 20.
Tune into KDKA-TV for live coverage.
Your donation will tremendously benefit Judah and all the kids at Children’s Hospital.
Phone lines will be open from 3 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
The numbers to call are:
- Local: (412)-692-8900
- Toll Free Number: (877)-522-2201