Fighters come in many shapes and sizes. Some are big and tough, like warriors in Hollywood movies or on the football field; however, the strongest fighters may not look strong from the outside. They may weigh 20 pounds and not be able to walk or talk, but their internal strength and their will makes them mighty. Real fighters look like Camden and Caiden.
“They have been fighting since the day they were born,” Nicole, their mother said.
In their short lives, the twin boys have had to overcome more obstacles than many do in their lifetime. Camden and Caiden were born at 24 weeks, both weighing less than two pounds. Caiden was in the hospital for the first three and a half months of his life, while Camden was there for eight months. Camden was also transferred to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City because of his lung function.
“It was definitely scary,” Nicole said. “We had our good days. We had our bad days. The bad days were really, really bad.”
Once they were out of the hospital, the boys had complicated medical needs. Camden and Caiden were limited in their mobility and ability to sit up by themselves. They resisted tummy time and didn’t use their hands to pick up toys. The boys made it through the first fight of their lives, but now they had to prepare for whatever might come next by gaining strength, endurance and coordination.
The family lives in Ark City, a small community, and couldn’t access the specialized services the twins required. However, that didn’t stop this family of fighters. Nicole heard about Heartspring and the therapies Pediatric Services offers from the boys’ primary care physician.
“I heard great things about Heartspring, so I knew the moment their doctor and I discussed it that it was definitely a program I wanted them to be in as soon as they could,” Nicole said.
The trip to Wichita takes about an hour each way, but Nicole decided it would be worth it. She was committed to helping her sons gain all the skills they need. Family members take turns driving, so Camden and Caiden are able to travel to Heartspring twice a week to receive the services they can’t get in their home community.
Every single gain they make is important in their overall well-being. While sitting up or mastering tummy time may not sound like a lot, these are big strides.
Camden and Caiden receive both physical and occupational therapy at Heartspring. It wasn’t long before the dedication and effort began to pay off. The boys started doing new things they had never done before and gained control of their bodies. One memorable moment was the first time Camden sat up.
“It was the greatest feeling in the world when they started sitting independently,” Nicole said. “They were a little over a year old. Children younger than them were doing that kind of stuff. To see my children doing that, it was just the most amazing thing in the world to witness all their firsts. It’s a great feeling when you don’t think they are going to be able to do that.”
“Those changes seem small, but they are huge and show how far they’ve come,” Physical Therapist Cheryl said.
Camden and Caiden have proven they have the strength and the will to fight hard and work to achieve their developmental milestones. They continue to make progress working with and being cheered on by their family, friends, nurses and the therapists at Heartspring.