JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two siblings battling the same heart condition are now thriving since receiving special pacemakers.
Quinn and Brew Reller were both diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, which affects blood flow.
Often they’d find themselves lightheaded, dizzy, seeing black or passing out.
Quinn first started noticing symptoms in 2019 while doing ballet.
“I was always afraid someone would see me do something and think I was crazy,” Quinn said. “Like there would be times I’d just fall and everyone would look at me like, ‘what just happened?”
The spells got progressively worse in the span of a few months.
“I thought I would have to drop out of dance,” Quinn said.
It was soon after that the Rellers found Brew had the same problem.
In Brew’s case, it hindered his passion for 3-D printing and stop-motion animation.
“It was harder to stand up and do most normal things,” Brew said.
“As we watched the kids, for lack of a better word, deteriorate, it was heartbreaking,” said their mother, Stephanie Reller.
That’s when Dr. Sunita Ferns at Wolfson Children's Hospital recommended pacemakers. First for Quinn, then for Brew.
“It’s a small subset of patients who can benefit from this technology,” Ferns said.
“I was definitely scared, but excited at the possibility it could work,” Quinn said.
It’s been about six months since Quinn’s surgery.
At this point, Quinn’s body relies on the pacemaker for about 12 hours per day.
“It has a particular algorithm that detects when Quinn’s heart rate is going to fall before it actually does,” Ferns said.
“I haven’t blacked out or passed out once since getting it,” Quinn said.
Now she’s able to brave grueling six-hour daily practices.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do so much without it,” Quinn said.
With state-of-the-art technology in her chest, and determination like no other, Quinn auditioned for the conservatory, and she got in.
There she will continue to pursue her goal to join a professional ballet company.