WVU team makes dream come true
The latest recruit to the men’s West Virginia University basketball team hails from Tyler County. Five-year-old Nicholas Wince joined fellow Mountaineers Tuesday night as they faced the Texas Longhorns.
Nick’s wish to become WVU’s newest basketball player came true thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. According to a press release from WVU, Nick’s duties began at 1 p.m. Tuesday when he was given a tour of “his new digs,” followed by a shoot-around with his new teammates and a press conference at 3 p.m. (Most of Nick’s day with the Mountaineers occurred after press time.)
Nick was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. “It basically means that he was born with only one ventricle of his heart formed,” mother Kristen Wince explains. “Basically he had ‘half of a heart.'” According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year about 906 babies in the United States are born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. This calculates to about one out of every 4,344 babies born in the United States is born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
Nick went through a series of three open heart surgeries, the first at seven days old, the second at two-and-a-half months old, and the third at two-and-a-half years old. Kristen states that these surgeries were called the Norwood, the Glenn, and the Fontan.
“We were extremely fortunate, because at the time Nick was born, there weren’t many pediatric cardiologists performing these extremely complex surgeries,” Kristen states. “Dr. Victor Morrell at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh did all three of Nick’s surgeries. I just can’t say enough good things about the pediatric cardiology department there.
“We’ve had multiple hospital stays, routine appointments with his pediatric cardiologist, and more heart caths and tests than I can count,” Kristen notes.
Nick visits his cardiologist every six months for heart health checkups.
As for his signing on with the Mountaineers, Kristen notes that Nick “was extremely excited,” when he found out the news.
“Nick loves sports, but will be limited in the amount of high endurance or high impact activities that he will physically be able to handle,” she adds. Besides sports, Kristen states that Nick also loves “fishing with his pappy and playing with our dogs.”
Kristen states that Nick’s dad, Tommy Wince, and Nick’s sister, Allie, are both “excited” for Nick. She adds that the Make-A-Wish staff has been “great about including Allie in all activities.”
WVU President Dr. E. Gordon Gee even gave Nick his very own bow tie, bow tie cookies, and suspenders, while the WVU football team gave Nick a bookbag, hat, and a football signed by the team.
Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia is a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children, aged two to 18, with life-threatening medical conditions. Currently, the organization fulfills wishes for children living with life-threatening medical conditions. “We believe that a wish experience fills our families with hope, strength, and joy,” they say.
The local chapter is one of the most active in the country, having fulfilled more than 16,000 wishes.
For more information, call Make-A-Wish at 800-676-9474 or visit its Web site at greaterpawv.wish.org.