Meet the young boy who inspired a lifesaving law in his home state of New Hampshire while battling a debilitating heart condition.
Parker Bolton was born with a congenital heart defect known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The condition was first detected during his mother 's 20-week checkup. Doctors had difficulty hearing Parker’s heartbeat.
Little did the Boltons know this was the start of a long journey for their family. Parker had his first open heart surgery at just 7 days old, his second heart surgery when he was 2 months old, and his third when he was 2 1/2 years old.
After that surgery, there was nothing else that could be done for Parker surgically and was transferred to Boston Children's Hospital's heart transplant team. For the next six years, he was clinically managed with medications and over 20 cardiac catheterizations.
Inspired by the exceptional care her son was receiving, Casey Bolton became an advocate. She pushed for a law that would require all babies born in New Hampshire to be tested for the seven critical congenital heart defects. After she met with representatives in 2011, they decided to name it Parker's Law.
In 2012, Parker's Law was passed when he was only 4 years old.
By the time Parker was 9, his condition took an unexpected turn and he underwent an emergency open heart surgery for the fourth time. He needed a heart transplant and the clock was ticking.
Finally, on May 16, 2019, Parker received a heart transplant. Today, Parker is no longer on blood thinners and has taken up ice skating, snow tubing and riding horses, which have become his second-favorite animal.
But even before his transplant surgery, his mom says Parker always had a positive personality.
“What surprises me most about Parker is that he doesn’t complain about his condition," said Casey Bolton.
"He’s taught us what true strength is; he is mentally stronger than anyone I’ve ever known," she said. "He has taught us how to live life to the fullest, make the best of everything and not to stress the small stuff. While living in the hospital we still had fun for the months we waited. We played with the staff, did sour challenges and hot sauce challenges. We made the best of our days and actually had fun."
Parker also enjoys advocating alongside his mother. "It has made him proud of the condition he was born with, and allows him to share his experiences to help others going through the same thing. It’s been rewarding to be able to help others," said Casey Bolton.
And he has big dreams, which include becoming a father, husband, scientist, a child life specialist, a veterinarian, a pediatrician, a video game designer and an author.
Parker, you’re one inspiring kid!
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