#MIKidsCan Champion of the Month: Nolan Krause, Dedicated at Heart

Meeting Nolan Krause today, you’d never guess he endured two open heart surgeries before the age of 12. In fact, you’d probably see him as you would any other active, enthusiastic 11-year-old.

Nolan was born with congenital heart disease, a rare condition that affects nearly 1% of births per year in the U.S.

As first time parents, Nolan’s mom and dad weren’t sure what the future held as they watched their six-week-old rushed to the hospital for open heart surgery.

“You have to be strong for your child,” his mom explains. “Move forward, get rest and think as positively as you can.”

With an undeniable support system, everyone, including Nolan, was more comfortable going into his second surgery at age eight.

“Nolan has always been positive and understood that he needs to make healthy choices,” his mom shares. “He’s always saying, ‘well maybe I can try that when my heart is stronger!’”

Despite any limitations it has brought his way, Nolan has always been a committed athlete, trying new activities as often as he can.

“Being healthy is keeping your body strong, eating healthy and keeping up at school,” he explains.

While Nolan enjoyed gymnastics and gym class, he eagerly awaited his pediatric cardiologist’s consent to play the one sport he feels most passionately about: football. As of last year, he became defensive cornerback on a club team that comprises minimal tackle.

“You must listen to your doctor, but stay as active as possible,” Nolan advises to other kids who may face similar limitations.

When he’s not living out his dream of becoming a Detroit Lion, Nolan is focused on what sports he can try next. This spring, he will be a part of his school’s track team.

“I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m excited,” he admits.

Do you know a child who deserves to be recognized for their commitment to living a healthy, active lifestyle? Nominate them at AHealthierMichigan.org/MIKidsCan.

Photo Credit: Diane Krause (feature and inset)

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