Toddler Gets a New Heart And a New Outlook On Life


July 23, 2013

One toddler is beating the odds after going through several heart surgeries resulting in a heart transplant. Two-year-old Dylan Willis was born with Tetralogy, a rare heart defect that caused him to go into heart failure at a very young age.

"Having to think about your child that's not even been born yet having a surgery at that age, it's nerve racking," says Dylan's mother, Shannon Willis.

His first surgery was at three months, and other surgeries followed.

Dylan is one of six children that had heart transplants at the children's hospital this year.

"It was hard because he was asleep and didn't look the same and he looked very sick and didn't eat much when he did wake up so it was a long, long process," says Willis.

However, at the beginning of the year, Dylan was able to get a new heart with the help of the doctors over at the UVa Children's Hospital.

"He's doing spectacularly, this is absolutely what we hope for when we put children and families through this and it's been very gratifying taking care of Dylan and his family," say Dr. Thomas Lecuyer, Director of Pediatric Cardiology at UVA Children's Hospital. "They do a great job with him, he's a great kid."

Dylan is now enjoying life as a normal two-year-old.

"Oh gosh, into everything, messing with everything, breaking everything, saying no when you tell him no," says Willis. "We couldn't ask for anything more, he can go to the baby sitter when we start our jobs back, it's great."

Dylan's family used to have to drive three hours every other week from their home in Mecklenburg Co. for checkups, but now Dylan only sees Dr. Lecuyer once a month, which leaves him more time to play


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