In addition to standing for 32 hours straight as a dance marathon dancer, graduate student Katie Stygles and her two sons, Robert and Lyndon, are one of the miracle families who spoke at this year’s Ziggython.
“We talk about our one reason, right? Well, I have two reasons,” Stygles said.
When Stygles was 30 weeks pregnant with her twin boys, she found out she was having complications and went into the hospital on bed-rest at 31 weeks.
“They kept telling me ‘just a couple more days’ and kept pushing it and pushing it,” she said.
Robert did not have much amniotic fluid, which is the fluid that helps the lungs develop, and the doctors decided to take the twins by C-section at 34 weeks.
“Robert was born first and let out a big cry, which is pretty indicative of his personality,” Stygles said. “Lyndon was born two minutes later and we didn’t hear anything.”
Lyndon was not breathing and he needed to be intubated in the OR and once he started to breathe, he was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
“They rolled their intubator by and I didn’t even get to touch them yet,” she said. “They had Robert laying on top of Lyndon because for multiples they help one another thrive. They were trying to help Lyndon survive, by having Robert on top of Lyndon.”
When she first saw them, they were both hooked up to breathing machines.
“It was pretty scary, but all the great doctors and nurses at Mercy Children’s were being really encouraging,” she said.
They were in the NICU for three weeks and when they came home they didn’t need any machines, which she said is rare.
Lyndon was also born with hydronephrosis, which is too much fluid in the kidneys which can lead to kidney failure.
He received continued care with his neurologist and had surgery to fix the problem when he was four.
“They are both tough little guys,” she said. “They really are my reason for everything. They are the reason I went back to school. They are proud big brothers to my other set of twins.”
Lyndon and Robert stayed at the event for 12 hours on Saturday and said they love being at the event.
“I love everything about Dance Marathon,” Robert said.
They said they liked playing with the college students.
“I like playing tag” Lyndon said.
Stygles said she did not participate as a dancer last year and was only there for eight hours.
“I truly understand what this is about now,” she said. “I think kind of got it last year, but this is a huge deal.”
Courtney Crowe, Assistant Director of External Affairs, said the Stygles were really involved in all of dance marathon’s events, which made them “awesome” to work with.
Dance marathon works with a hospital coordinator to connect with the miracle families, Crowe said.
As the Assistant Director of External Affairs, Crowe said she has a branch underneath her who communicates with anyone outside of the University. This includes family relations, alumni, community outreach, faculty, staff and graduate students.
“They are super appreciative of everything we do,” Crowe said. “It’s really great to get their support back. We are able to do so much for them and its a really good working relationship.”
Miracle Children provide inspiration to dance marathon, Crowe said.
“They are the real life connection,” she said.
Crowe said she wanted to get more involved with the families, which is why she took her current position.
“The first couple of events I went to, I saw that there were always Miracle Children at the event,” Crowe said. “When they tell their stories, they obviously pull you in and get you attached to the cause and I think that’s why I am where I am.”