Grandfather and grandson who have both gone under open heart surgery have matching zipper scars
A mother caring for her father and one-year-old baby who’ve BOTH had open heart surgery has spoken of how “blessed” she is.
Brandy Gregware’s son, Kolbie Gregware, and her father, Allan Halstead, have matching zipper scars on their chest resulting from multiple operations.
Their beautiful bond was captured in a heart wrenching photograph of the two of them which showed “one life just beginning while another is coming to an end”.
Kolbie, who has just celebrated his first birthday along with twin Kash, was born at 29 weeks and has a heart defect, pulmonary vein stenosis, pulmonary hypertension and Down’s Syndrome.
Little Kolbie also has chronic lung disease from being born premature, is on oxygen 24/7 and has kidney disease.
His grandfather, 67-year-old Allan, has been battling heart disease for 12 years.
Allan has a three lead pacemaker, had open heart surgery TWICE, carries a defibrillator and has just 10 per cent heart function.
But despite their many difficulties, the pair are incredibly determined and united with their matching zipper scars on their chests.
Brandy, 38, said: “My Dad was in hospital just two days before the boys’ first birthday.
“He said to the doctors, ‘I don’t care what you do, I’m going to be at the twins’ birthday’.
“It’s on his bucket list, he just had to be at their first birthday.
“There have been times when Dad has been leaving hospital when Kolbie is going in, and Dad has refused to leave before Kolbie is out.
“The bond they have is unreal, it’s just love.”
Brandy and husband Tobby never planned on having any children because her father was so ill, but the couple say they are “blessed” with their twins.
“My Dad has been sick for so many years and we were helping my Mom care for him, so we didn’t plan on having our own children,” said Brandy, from South Carolina.
“But God had other plans for us and blessed us with two boys – the only boys in the family.
“I wanted to get a picture of my Dad and Kolbie together to show that miracles do happen.
“Just because you’ve been given a diagnosis, doesn’t mean you should give up hope.
“I’ve met people who are ashamed of their scars and hide them, but I just think you’ve overcome this obstacle, you should wear it with pride.
“That’s what I wanted this picture to show.”
The stunning photograph was captured by photographer Sunshine Moody, based in Alabama, who also photographed the miracle babies’ first birthday.
Due to being so premature and missing a lot of therapy because of hospital appointments, Kolbie is only as advanced as a two-month-old baby.
Brandy is continually back and forth at the hospital with him, which is TWO HOURS away in Atlanta.
“It’s incredibly hard, especially when Mom calls and says Dad isn’t doing too good either.
“Kolbie and Kash have missed out on a lot together because they’ve spent so much time apart, but I can’t wait for that bond to develop between them.
“Kolbie amazes me every day.
“He loves to smile and to learn.
“We thought we were going to lose him, so he’s my amazing little baby.
“Kash has a big personality, he’s just like me whereas Kolbie is like my husband.”
Unfortunately, the family are coming to terms with the fact Kash is beginning to face health difficulties as well.
He has congenital scoliosis and part of his top vertebrae is missing, so it won’t be long before he, too, needs surgery.
Brandy and her husband Tobby set up a Facebook page to mark Kolbie and Kash’s journey, the response to which has been amazing.
Brandy said: “We’ve had gifts and special cards sent from all over for the boys.
“It means so much to us that people are praying for them and follow their story.”