While he was still in utero with his twin brother, Nolan Perez was diagnosed with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) – a congenital heart defect where the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped. Just a week after he was born, Nolan underwent his first open-heart surgery, which was followed by a difficult two-month recovery over the holidays. During this time, the Perez family witnessed firsthand the compassion and incredible support they received from staff at Levine Children’s Hospital.

“We witnessed the generosity of our community when we walked into Nolan’s room on Christmas Day and found it filled with toys and gifts from strangers. We knew we were in the best place for his care.” – Chris Perez, Nolan’s father

At seven-months-old, Nolan had a second successful surgery. Over the next few years, Nolan’s parents enjoyed watching their children grow, and Nolan worked hard in therapy to get the strength to sit up, crawl, and eventually walk. At the tender age of three, Nolan had his third heart surgery. During the procedure, he briefly lost oxygen supply to his brain, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Though his recovery certainly wasn’t easy, Nolan eventually became strong enough to go home and was able to come off his feeding tube. When Nolan started school, he showed his parents how bright he was and how strong he had become, climbing playground equipment with no fear at all. Today, Nolan is in second grade and living his childhood to the fullest, thanks to the support of his friends, family and care team at Levine Children’s. We are pleased to introduce Nolan as our 2021 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion and look forward to working with him and his family as he represents Levine Children’s Hospital.

Nolan with his twin brother Grant