5 Siblings With Rare Disorder All Need New Hearts

heartGetting through their first child's heart transplant was frightening, but Stacy and Jason Bingham thought the worst was over. They were lucky enough to find a match for 12-year-old Sierra and she was on the mend. Then the unimaginable happened. They learned all five of their children may need heart transplants.

Each Bingham kid has been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, or DCM, a rare genetic abnormality that prevents their heart from pumping blood properly. Having one gravely ill child is horrifying enough, but the fear of maybe losing all five seems almost too much to bear.

For now, just 8-year-old Lindsy is on the transplant list, which includes about 3,000 children and adults. Megan, 10, Hunter, 5, and Gage, 3, are not as ill yet, thank goodness. But little Gage has already been fitted with a pacemaker.

Doctors say the smallest hearts are the hardest to find. If a child's heart gives out before a donor comes through, however, there are devices they can be put on to keep them alive until surgery.

But getting a heart is only half the battle. After the surgery, there is a long recovery period and there is always the risk the body will reject the new organ. And while the survival rates are better than they were a decade ago, the numbers are still scary: 70 percent of children with heart transplants are alive 10 years later, but just 50 percent are alive 50 years later.

It sounds almost too much to bear. As a parent myself, I can't even imagine the amount of fear the Binghams endure on a daily basis. How can they cope with this type of medical tragedy? Can you imagine fearing that you will lose all five of your children to the same illness. Five! It's absolutely heartbreaking.

Doesn't this story just break your heart?


Images via jkavo/Flickr

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Jaye5.0 Jaye5.0

Heart officially broken. Prayers for the family.

nonmember avatar Lilac

Those poor children! And they only way they will get new hearts is if other little children died and they get the transplant. This it so tragic!

mande... manderspanders

It is sad. This family needs all the prayers they can get

However, organ transplants arent miracle cures. You have to be able to afford the anti-rejection meds (they aren't paid for in full by a third party forever) and then those meds ultimately destroy the kidneys, too.... Resulting in either dialysis or another transplant. Then there's the constant worry of being exposed to illness or of the side effects of these necessary drugs.... I just hate it that people think an organ transplant "fixes" the situation. It's an option, but one with its own unique set of problems.

I hope this family has a good support system.

fleur... fleurdelys3110

This is so unimaginably terrible. If only the parents and doctors couldve know about the genetic defects before they had all the children.

nonmember avatar Beth

How can that statistic on the survival rate of 50% of transplant patients are alive after 50 years be correct? The first heart transplant took place in 1967.

tuffy... tuffymama

Did they know this all along? If so, why the hell did they keep having kids? I hope they had no idea until it was too late. Otherwise, they're wantonly irresponsible and selfish to keep on making people who are doomed to live painfully short and limited lives. I hope something somehow works out for the innocent children.

ghost... ghostbaby

Wasnt Gage the name of the kid on pet cemetary?

cmjaz cmjaz

The article states that the parents didn't know all children had the defect until the 12 year old was diagnosed. The children were born by then.

I hate to say it but this is something that Ushers stepson could help with. Tameka could donate his organs to save other children.

bigbl... bigblueeyes

we have 2 medical needs children (we also have a sierra and a hunter!.....lol), only one with a major heart defect.....i understand the fear they are facing!......prayer and our faith are what has gotten us through!!!!!.......we will be praying for you guys!!!!!

nonmember avatar Schroeder

To cmjaz on Jul 21, 2012 at 7:26 AM and tuffymama on Jul 20, 2012 at 10:28 PM: The article in the Bend Bulletin (bendbulletin.com/article/20120715/NEWS0107/207150319/) states the eldest, Sierra, was in the hospital waiting for a transplant six years ago; in other words, before the two youngest were born. tuffymama, thanks for writing what I thought when I read this. cmjaz, google.com is what is called a search engine. If you enter the right terms in the right space, you can find stories that give correct answers to questions so you don't wind up making incorrect assumptions based on misinterpreting limited information (no where does it say that Sierra was diagnosed at 12, only that she is now 12) like you did here.

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