‘3 MUSCateers’ create special bond as they wait on heart transplants in hospital
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Three little boys who had to move into MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital while they wait for new hearts have created a unique bond that has helped them and their families cope.
Bennett, 6, Jackson, 6, and Marcelino, 9, were strangers before they all had to move into the hospital In March. They each have heart conditions and had to move into the hospital as they wait for heart transplants.
Between school and medicine, the boys spend their days together playing with toys or video games, and even share meals together. Their days usually start with one of the boys knocking on their doors.
“We’re so blessed that he has friends here that he can you know, play with, they relate to him,” Bennett’s mom, Lindsey Gulyas, says. “There’s no questioning like what’s that? They’re all going through the same thing together.”
Their mothers say they are like little siblings running around together.
“I’ve never seen a bond like this before,” MUSC Child Life Specialist Bethany Campbell says. “It’s really rare for kids to be able to form a relationship in the hospital and it’s really important especially for their age and their development to have social and peer interaction.”
The friendship hasn’t just been a blessing for the boys but for their families as well. Jackson’s mom, Kristin Bell, says it helps the days go by since they’re there for the long haul.
“It’s so encouraging for me, and I think for Jackson as well just to have these other kids, and for me these other moms, who know exactly what it’s like going through this situation,” Bell says.
The moms say that 6 to 12 months is the normal wait time for a new heart, but they have no idea how long it will actually take. For now, they’re making plans for after they all are transplanted and discharged, and they hope the bond is one that lasts forever.
“My hopes for these boys would be to have a long lifetime friendship,” Marcelino’s mom, Shondrell Leon, says. “To always know they can conquer the world with each other, to always support one another and to just be there. I would say if one of them gets a heart, the other one steps in and supports, and vice versa.”
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