Nash is a vibrant little boy with a big, joyful heart. Looking into his beautiful green eyes, it’s impossible to tell he’s faced more challenges in his three years of life than many of us experience in a lifetime.
Before Nash was even born, he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that transposed his great arteries and inverted the two bottom chambers of his heart – a defect that decreased the oxygen level in his blood. Nash spent the first five weeks of his life in the NICU and underwent the first of three heart surgeries when he was just 4-months-old. He had trouble eating and eventually had a feeding tube surgically implanted in his stomach. With minimal heart strength, he came to Penfield’s Birth-to-Three Program at 1½-years-old, unable to sit up or crawl.
Initially, Nash was uncomfortable around new kids and hesitant to work with speech and physical therapists. Although Penfield’s staff understood his limitations, they also nurtured his potential. Through physical therapy, he began grasping toys and developed the strength to sit up on his own. Speech therapists worked hard to teach him how to eat, chew and put food in his mouth. Nash made new friends and it wasn’t long before he felt at home at Penfield.
Last year, Nash graduated from the Birth-to-Three program and, recently, underwent his second successful heart surgery. He still attends Penfield’s Early Childhood Education program where he spends his time playing and learning with kids of all developmental levels. Once shy and nervous, Nash is now outgoing. He loves reading, creating art projects and sharing new experiences with friends. He will need another heart surgery when he is an adult, but for now, he faces each day like every other child – ready to play and explore the world. For all it’s been through, Nash’s heart remains strong, loving and hopeful.