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Nixohn Harder's family optimistic of full recovery

Nixohn Harder, 4 months old, is recovering and doing well after a complicated heart surgery. He has been problem free for a month or so now and the family is optimistic of his continued recovery.
Brandon and Jennal Harder with their son Nixohn

Brandon and Jennal Harder with their son Nixohn /Kristi Harder

Nixohn Harder, nephew of Calvin College baseball player Garret Harder, is recovering from open heart surgery. He is back home with family and doing well. 

Harder, who is 4 months old, was born with a congenital heart defect, known as an atrial septal defect. It resulted in a mitral valve defect and a large hole in his heart. 

Although his condition is a rarity, with only a handful of known cases worldwide, doctors were able to successfully perform multiple surgeries within the first few months after his birth. 

“He’s doing really well right now,” Garret Harder said. He’s home and doing great. He had some issues a week ago with breathing and went in for a couple days. But he is home again now.”

“It hurts to hear of a child struggling to live,” said Cory Laster, Garret Harder’s teammate, “and to have it be a family member of a teammate, it makes it much more personal.” 

The family held a fundraising event called “Nickels for Nixohn” prior to his surgery, and earned a fair amount of money to help cover the medical costs, said to Garret Harder. 

Along with support from the fundraiser, the Harder family has received support from Garret Harder’s teammates at Calvin. 

“It’s great news to hear that Nixohn is back home,” Austin Juza said, a junior and friend of Garret Harder. “We’ve been praying about it, and it’s a real blessing. It’s a relief knowing he is healing well. We hope he can stay out of the hospital for an extended amount of time now.”

Despite Nixohn Harder needing hospital care a few days last week, doctors are optimistic about a full recovery leading to a normal life. 

“They are very confident he will be a healthy baby,” Garret Harder said.  

“He’s been a tough one,” Garret Harder said. “He had been in the hospital for a total of 36 days.” 

As far as the doctors know, Nixohn harder is the second patient in the world to survive these sets of surgeries. 

Congenital heart disease, when detected before birth, is much easier to fix. 

“It’s a miracle that he came out of this in good health,” Juza said.

“He’s doing really well,” said Brandon Harder, Nixohn Harder’s father, “no more complications at all.”

Brandon Harder said that they will be making monthly hospital visits to check vitals. 

“I love the support we are getting from the fundraiser which raised over $20,000,” Brandon Harder said, “and for the surgeon who saved my boy’s life, we are truly blessed.”

"Nixohn was home for Thanksgiving and is doing great, ” Garret Harder said. “We hope that you continue to pray for Nixohn in the months to come.”

The Harder family will continue to raise more money for any future medical costs. To purchase a wrist band or a t-shirt, email Garret Harder.

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