Ron and Sara Hayes were given the devastating news forty years ago that their daughter Megan would not survive past infancy. Megan had been diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a condition that often has a high mortality rate. But Megan just recently celebrated her 40th birthday, living to become the oldest person in the United States with Trisomy 18, and the second oldest person in the world.
“When Megan was born, she immediately went to the NICU,” Megan’s mother told Oklahoma City News 9. “I didn’t get to see her at all until the next day and that was looking through the window.”
A child with Trisomy 18 typically has three copies of their 18th chromosome. Because of this rare condition, the doctors told Megan’s parents that “she [would] probably die within four months.”
To the doctors’ surprise, Megan continued to live and thrive, even to this day. Medical professionals speculated that the reason for this is because Megan was born with a healthy heart, unlike other patients with Trisomy 18.
“I think when she lost her first tooth I almost cried,” Sara Hayes said. Discussing her daughter, she said that Megan is “eager to please,” loves to laugh and spend time with her family. Despite having Trisomy 18, Megan has also succeeded in graduating from high school.
“It’s a delight. It’s a delight. She wakes up every morning happy, smile on her face,” Ron Hayes said. “It’s not a death sentence for having a child like this.”
Recently, doctors have discovered that with the right medical care, people with Trisomy 18 can live longer than what was originally thought to be possible. As advancements are made for treating Trisomy, more stories are emerging of children who have it living past birth.
“These kids really are living, and they are doing these things,” said Sara Hayes. “[…] The doctors don’t know what to tell us. […] She’s a miracle. I don’t know how else to explain it.”