Foundation makes dream come true for teen hit with same life-threatening illness as his sister
Patti Sells | News-Telegram Feature Editor

Nov. 12, 2006 - The Make-A-Wish Foundation continues to make dreams become a reality forchildren with life-threatening illnesses, such as Patrick Collins, diagnosedwith restrictive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy shortly after his sister, Katlin, received the same diagnosis in January of 2004.

Restrictive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a complex cardiac disease marked by thickening of the heart muscle, which often causes shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, chest pressure or pain and fainting. The condition is progressive, and can lead to heart failure.

Many may recall that Patrick's sister underwent a successful heart transplant in June of this year and was able to return home last month, two months early, due to her exceptional recovery.

"With all his sister's been through these past few months, I imagine he's been feeling somewhat overlooked," said "Wishgranter" Susan Lennon, employed with Alliance Bank Financial Services. "For that reason, we really wanted to do it up big for him."

Patrick, the 15-year-old son of Paul and Cheryl Nortin, stayed by his sister's side in Houston throughout the summer to support her during her recovery.

"It wasn't a very fun way to spend the summer," said his stepfather, Paul. "It was pretty rough, and he didn't get a lot of attention. So it was great when he got his wish."

The Make-A-Wish Foundation began in 1980 and has 71 chapters and more than 25,000 volunteers serving virtually every community in the United States.

Patrick, a freshman "whiz kid" at Sulphur Springs High School, wished for a "super-duper" gaming computer. "It's a computer on steroids," laughed Lennon.

The Ultra Aluminus ATX Tower PC with a motherboard that supports Intel Pentium D4 Processor with HT technology, dual channel memory, two gigabyte memory, video cards, sound card, DVD burner, CD/RW, internal hard drive, wireless adapter, floppy disk, gaming mouse, surround sound speakers, video game console, 24-inch monitor, software and Kingston jump drive was custom built by Michael Hoybook of Discount Computers.

"He must have done his research," laughed Hoybook, who built the computer exactly to Patrick's specification. "I've been building computers for 10 years and have never built one like this. I was happy to do it for him. I hope he really enjoys it. 

Patrick picked up his custom-ordered computer Friday, Nov. 3.

"This is the coolest thing I've ever seen," said Patrick.

"He was thrilled," said Paul. "I haven't seen a smile on his face like that in a long time."

According to Paul, he and Patrick built his first computer together when he was about 6 years old.

"He's been rebuilding with old parts and upgrading with used parts ever since," explained Paul. "We've never been able to get him a new computer. His abilities with a PC have always exceeded his equipment."

With his new computer, Patrick plans to listen to music, e-mail friends, play games and keep up with his homework.

Patrick's condition is listed in the moderate stages, and doctors and family are hoping to control his condition through medications. According to Paul, Patrick's septum, the portion of the heart that separates the chambers, is not enlarging, but is thickening.

He is currently undergoing treatment at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston with the same team of doctors as his sister.

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