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Super Oliver C.

“Just a little boy, born with a large heart…who is meant to do extraordinary things!”

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Before this TinySuperhero was born, his parents began calling him Oliver Hope. They knew his chances were next to zero that he would survive even hours after his birth – most said he wouldn’t live to take his first breath. Hope & faith was what they had left to hold on to, and they held on with a tight grip.

When Super Oliver’s mom, Caylyn, was 24 weeks pregnant, Oliver was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart becomes enlarged and is unable to properly pump blood. By the 28th week of pregnancy, Super Oliver’s left ventricle was 7 times the size it should be.  While it is certainly possible to be born and live with Cardiomyopathy, Super Oliver’s left ventricle was so enlarged that it had cut off blood flow to that side altogether. His case was extreme. It was very unlikely he would survive it.

Super Oliver’s only chance was in a heart transplant, but to qualify for the transplant waiting list, he needed to make it as close to full term as possible before arriving. The doctors made a plan to deliver via c section after 36 weeks. As the weeks passed, Super Oliver’s heart became sicker and sicker, and his parents began to fear his birth, and were just hoping to make it to full term so that he would have a shot.

At 33 weeks, Caylyn’s water broke. She says she woke up screaming – she felt like they were so close to having a chance and now it was lost. If Oliver was born at 33 weeks, he wouldn’t qualify for a transplant, their hopes were diminishing before their eyes, but Super Oliver was coming.

On January 5, 2015 Super Oliver was born, almost 7 weeks prematurely, weighing 5 lbs 11 oz. His heart was the size of a 5 year old’s. He came out blue and wasn’t breathing, but beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, he pulled through and was hanging on. While all odds were against them, his doctors joined his parents in having hope, and at 4 days old, Super Oliver was listed for a heart transplant and went straight to the top of the list. side by side 2Just 48 hours later a perfect donor heart became available – a gift that his parents cherish with pure gratitude and humility. Someone else’s devastating loss was giving their son a chance at life.

Thanks to innovative technology, a one-of-a-kind team at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and 2 parents that never gave up hope, at 6 days old (still 6 weeks premature) Super Oliver became the youngest premature baby to receive a heart transplant in the US.

Super Oliver is 16 months old now. We’ll let the two photos below speak for themselves.

side by side

Super Oliver’s story is dynamic in so many ways. I encourage you to dive into his story more through his Facebook page, or if you’re google savvy, you’ll find endless stories about this miracle. His parents feel fortunate that they never had to learn to live with Oliver’s cardiomyopathy. While not all children born with this condition are as severe as Super Oliver’s, most will need a heart transplant. His parents’ gratitude flows out of them, fueling a mission to raise awareness for Congenital Heart Defects, Organ Donation, and holding on to hope. Each milestone, giggle, bath, and cry remind this family of just how precious of a gift Oliver’s life is.

We’ve barely touched the surface of Super Oliver’s Mighty story. I encourage you to leave a note to Super Oliver below and follow his page to continue watching him SOAR!

Click to follow Super Oliver’s journey on Facebook!

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