Nolan was taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. To survive, he needed a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD), which helps the heart function until a donor heart is available. Peter Wearden, MD, prepared the family for this procedure. "Dr. Wearden instilled a lot of confidence in us that everything would go well," said Corinne. "I know that Dr. Wearden is an amazing surgeon so I had full faith that everything would be OK. And it was." The day after the VAD procedure, Nolan was put on the transplant list.
At 8 a.m. on Jan. 23, 102 days after being placed on the transplant list, the McLaughlins received news — there was a donor heart for Nolan. "I was very relieved and thought, 'OK, we're going to make it.'" Nolan went into surgery at 9 p.m.
On March 12, Nolan was released from Children's and moved into the nearby Ronald McDonald House with his parents, and on March 28, the family headed home.
The situation has also made the McLaughlins and their friends think more about organ donation for themselves as well as for their children. Corinne said they hope to meet the donor's family one day. "I want them to know how courageous they are and how well we will take care of their son/daughter. I want them to know we will do our best to make sure he/she continues to thrive for many years to come. I just want to give them a big hug and let them have their time with Nolan, should they choose. I really want to know that they are OK."
On April 12, Nolan turned one. The family was ecstatic for this birthday, that just months earlier, they weren't sure they would get a chance to celebrate.
You can follow Nolan's story on his Facebook page – Nolan - Heart of Steel . Learn more about organ donation and register as a donor here: http://bit.ly/1hW6CcN
Be sure to tune and ask questions! Here is our panel of experts (left to right in picture):
Mandy Budzowski, health coach supervisor, UPMC Health Plan
- The onsite health coach manager for UPMC Health Plan. She helps members transform their lives for the better through the power of healthy lifestyles.
- Favorite fuel: dried fruit. Favorite hydration: homemade sports drink.
- Has completed the Louisville 140.6 mile IRONMAN, and over 85 marathons, half marathons, adventure races, triathlons, and 5 & 10K races all over the country.
Leslie Bonci, R.D., director of sports nutrition, UPMC Sports Medicine
- A sports dietitian and a runner, she works with athletes on performance eating to help them run better. She is also the co-author of Run Your Butt Off.
- Favorite snack: hummus and mini pretzels. Favorite drink: tart cherry juice/green tea mix.
- Has completed 7 marathons, as well as several Great Races and Race for the Cure races.
Marlesa Adams, blogger, Mar on the Run
- A long time runner, Mar has been racing since 2010. After recovering from some health issues, she started her blog in late 2012 to chronicle her ongoing health and fitness journey and share her passion for running.
- Favorite fuel: gummy bears or honey stinger chews. Favorite hydration: alternates between water and Gatorade.
- No full marathon yet but has completed over 35 races of multiple distances, including Pittsburgh as her 15th half marathon.
Jenna Hatfield, blogger, Stop, Drop & Blog
- An editor by day, a blogger by night, and a runner when she can fit it into her busy schedule. A Pittsburgh native, she now makes her home in Ohio with her husband and their two sons.
- Favorite hydration: a water drinker for most runs, with a love of lemon-lime Gatorade for refueling.
- I have run two half marathons and a number of shorter races since returning to running in 2012.
Nick Fischer, R.D., founder, Fischer Nutrition
- Registered Dietitian and the owner / operator of Fischer Nutrition LLC. He will be working toward a Master in Food Science and becoming a Board Certified Sports Dietitian.
- Favorite fuel: dried figs. Favorite hydration: Scratch Labs™ lemon lime hydration mix.
- Has completed over 100 bike races and 5 marathon distance trail runs.
Jon Kissel, Development Manager for Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon
- Head Coach of the Steel City Road Runners, and an avid marathoner/ultra marathoner
- Favorite fuel: energy gels. Favorite hydration: water for marathons, and Heed by Hammer Nutrition for ultras.
- 20 marathons, 14 ultras (50K through 100 miles)
Have a question now? Ask us in the comments below!
Check out the list and see if you physician made the list: http://bit.ly/1hTDDHB
Watch David's touching story of how Deep Brain Stimulation helped him regain control of his body and walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.
Find more information on David's treatment here: http://bit.ly/1mh4tsC
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