Riley's Special Place in Dylan's Heart

May 19, 2015
Topics: Heart (cardiology), Riley Kid Story

dylan n blog image
Dylan Nichols, then and now

We began our Riley journey in 2008 when our son, Dylan, was born with a congenital heart defect called, Tetralogy of Fallot. We didn't know he had this heart defect until he was about 5 hours old.

Three days later, we found ourselves at Riley Hospital. We placed our trust in the doctors to take our newborn and place a BT shunt in his heart. We came back eight months later so Dylan could have a more long term repair. He underwent open heart surgery with Riley heart surgeon Dr. Mark Turrentine, and we were so blessed to be able to go home five days later! Most recently, Dylan had a heart catheterization procedure (performed by Dr. Mark Hoyer) when he was 4 years old to place a stent.

Dylan is doing very well today! He has no restrictions and is currently on no medications. He has yearly check-ups with his wonderful cardiologist, Dr. Anne Farrell, where he usually gets an EKG and Echo. He loves to play baseball, swim and make creations with LEGOs. However, he will need more surgeries in his future, including more open heart surgeries. It puts our minds at ease as parents knowing that Riley will always be there to help provide care to Dylan throughout his life.

My husband Dustin and I both grew up in Indy so we have always known about Riley, but we never realized the impact this hospital would make in our lives. Our family feels so confident in the doctors and nurses who care for our son and his heart, and we know that they care about him too. We are thankful for Dr. Turrentine, Dr. Farrell, Dr. Hoyer, and all the nurses in the heart center. The Riley staff not only took great care of our baby boy, but also of us as parents. They were always making sure we understood what they were doing for Dylan, and that we were eating and getting enough rest. 

As Dylan grows older, he is becoming more aware of what his scars mean and what a special place Riley has been in his life. Dylan recently raised enough donations for Riley Children’s Foundation to have a Riley wagon donated (with his own personalized license plate) for other children to use when they are undergoing care at Riley.

Riley definitely holds a very special place in our hearts, and, especially, in Dylan's heart.

Emily Nichols

Emily Nichols passionately works for the American Heart Association, is the mother of two boys, Dylan,7 and Tyler, 3. She has been married to the “love of her life,” Dustin, for 11 years. When she is not chasing her boys, Emily loves to work out, teach Spin classes, play with their two yellow labs, and do anything outdoors with friends and family. The Nichols family lives in Brownsburg, Ind.

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