Midwestern State Students awaits heart transplant.
Midwestern State Senior Caleb Nichols was diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy in 2011. In June of this year, the real battle started. He spent almost two and a half weeks in the hospital, and although he’s home now, he’s still waiting for a new heart.
Nichols’ doctors say he was most likely born with genetic heart failure, but he didn’t know anything was wrong until he collapsed on the soccer field when he was 16.
“Normally with the disease I have, you just die,” Nichols said. “That’s it, when you have your first episode, because there’s nothing to stop it.”
Doctors at Cook Children’s Hospital diagnosed Nichols with ARVC, which means his right ventricle is made of fat instead of muscle. He currently has a defibrillator and a pace maker in his chest to pull him out of his “episodes” once they start.
“It’s just like the worst headache you’ve ever had,” he said. “Your chest just feels like there’s an elephant sitting on it. In the middle of it…it’s definitely very freaky.”
When he spent time at UT Southwestern in June, his doctors decided it was time to put him on the list for a heart transplant.
“There are other people that need a heart worse than I do right now, but if anything happens or there are any complications, I’ll move up the list pretty quickly,” Nichols said.
Right now, Nichols has to take it easy, which means no more sports, and being very careful while doing anything active.
“It’s definitely hard to be a college student and not be able to go out and play basketball with your friends, and play soccer and do all those things,” he said. “I just tell everyone, I’m an old man. I come home, watch the news, and take a nap.”
Nichols’ mom says one of the good things out of this situation has been the outpouring of love and support from the Wichita Falls community.
“From the bottom of my heart, as a mother, I cannot say thanks enough,” she said. “Because it has meant so much.”
If you’d like to give support to Caleb Nichols and his family, they are having a fundraiser at Chili’s all day on Tuesday, July 14. There will also be a blood drive at the Masonic Lodge on July 25. You can also buy “Nickels for Nichols” t-shirts and bracelets at Finishing Touch gift shop in Wichita Falls. In addition, there’s an account open to donation at First National Bank on Fairway, under Caleb Nichols or “Nickels for Nichols.”
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