An Amazing Support System for the Nichols Family

Sullivan Nichols was born with an undiagnosed, severely depressed left ventricle of the heart and was immediately airlifted from another local hospital to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. At just 1 week old, he had his first open heart surgery and at 24 days old, he was listed for a heart transplant. Through the many ups and downs during those first weeks of life, miraculously, his heart function began to improve and his transplant status was changed to inactive, mom Elizabeth said. After eight long weeks, the family could finally go home.

At 10 months old, Sullivan underwent his second open heart surgery. Despite some complications and being put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for a few days, their tough little fighter has been recovering ever since. “While we may never know the cause of his heart diagnosis, his incredible tenacious strength continues to amaze us all,” Elizabeth said.

While Sullivan was an inpatient–both when he was born and then again for his second surgery—Elizabeth and dad Brandon were given a room at the Mott House.

“At Sullivan’s birth, our world was turned upside down with extreme health complications that we nor our doctors had prepared for,” Elizabeth said.

Their arrival to Mott was unplanned, and while she said they are lucky to have an amazing support system of family and friends, their extended stay at the hospital came as quite a shock.

“When we learned about the Mott House and that a room was available for us, we were absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude at what they were able to provide: an actual bed to sleep in, a private bathroom, a simple cup of coffee each morning, [which were] everyday essentials that we wouldn’t have otherwise had during such a stressful time,” Elizabeth said. “It allowed us a brief reprieve while still being in very close proximity to our child receiving care. During his stays, I never wanted to leave the hospital for any reason– with the support of the Ronald McDonald House, I didn’t have to.”

Sullivan turns 3 years old on February 22. He loves books puzzles, “working” outside with his dad and playing with his cousins.

“Sully is full of energy, always has a smile on his face and has a feisty spirit that further confirms he’s one strong little fighter!” Elizabeth exclaimed.