Meet Vince: A Children's Wisconsin Champion

Meet Vince: A Children's Wisconsin Champion

During Family Advocacy Day, Vince and his family will discuss his health journey, Children’s Wisconsin’s role in providing him with necessary care, and why we must invest in the future of patients like Vince.

At six days old, Vince was experiencing jaundice, so his parents took him to the pediatrician.

During that appointment, his pediatrician heard a loud heart murmur and Vince's parents took him to the local hospital the next day. There he was diagnosed with atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect—two holes in his heart.

Vince, a Children's Wisconsin champion, is
participating in Family Advocacy Day 2023.

The care team immediately started him on medication, but because his heart was working extra hard, he was burning too many calories and was very tiny.

Vince’s parents were scared upon learning his diagnosis and say it was a very stressful time for their family.

“The providers helped take good care of my family,” says Dawn, Vince’s mother. “The doctors at Children’s wanted him to be a little older and bigger before attempting to repair his heart defects.”

When Vince was just over four months old, he had his first surgery. He recovered well and his care team said that Vince could be well for a while, or he might need additional care.

Almost six years went by before he began feeling sick again. His parents took him to a local hospital and discovered that Vince was in heart failure. He was transported via ambulance to Children’s Wisconsin.

Vince’s heart was so weak that it couldn’t support his breathing or pump blood to his organs. To keep him well enough for transplant, doctors tried an innovative treatment called the Berlin Heart. The Berlin Heart enabled Vince’s body to recover and three weeks later, he received a perfect heart match.

Today, Vince is doing fantastic. Now in college, he takes anti-rejection medication every day and returns to Children’s for biannual heart catheterization procedures and quarterly appointments to do bloodwork, echocardiograms and physical exams. Prior exercise tests have demonstrated that Vince is as healthy as the average kid. He enjoys golfing, fishing, camping and playing basketball.

Family Advocacy Day

Elevating patient stories and educating lawmakers remains critical to increase awareness about the essential care provided by children's hospitals.