PHOENIX - Parents Nicole and Michael Draper went through every parents nightmare; about 30 weeks into their pregnancy, they discovered that their twin boys had enlarged hearts.
Despite the difficulties, twins Nathaniel “Nate” Draper and his brother Nicholas “Nick” were born right at 37 weeks. However, the family knew that it was a long road ahead.
“Unfortunately, that first night they declined quite a bit and we were told that they were both going to need heart transplants,” said Nicole.
The twins were immediately airlifted to UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital where they specialize in infant heart transplants. The Draper family was then given some heartbreaking news that only one of their sons was eligible for the heart transplant.
“It’s tough, it’s like, chose between the two, if only one can live,” said Michael.
Around this time, Nate recently experienced bleeding in his brain which make him an unsuitable candidate for a heart transplant.
“I started having panic attacks. I’ve never experienced anything like that. It was a tough tough time that took many months, even years to where we felt stable,” Michael remembered.
Nick and Nate suffer from a long list of symptoms, including poor growth, loss of muscle coordination, and visual problems to name a few.
The Draper family turned to Phoenix Children’s Hospital as basically their second home.
“The thing I really like about PCH is that they know that I know my kids, and their baseline, and they really listen to what I know about them as a mom,” said Nicole.
“With mitochondrial disorder, we know that they’re not ever going to be typical. We hope to give them the best quality of life that we can, and the doctors are amazing in helping us do that.”
After a lifetime of struggle for these twin boys, the Draper family has learned to take time and enjoy every accomplishment.
“Nate actually had a moment to where he stood and took a couple steps with Nicole’s help, so it was a big moment,” said Michael.
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