ROSS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — When they were diagnosed with the same rare heart condition, 17-year-old identical twins Ashton and Kendal Pluchinsky were unsure of their fate. But not only have they survived, they’re also some of the top runners on their cross-country team.
24 Hour News 8 first reported the story of the Pluchinsky brothers, who are juniors at Delton Kellogg High School, on Thanksgiving 2016.
On Wednesday, the twins competed in a cross-country meet at Michigan State University’s W.K. Kellogg Experimental Forest near Augusta to see how far they’ve come since the diagnosis.
“Feels great to be able to run again,” Kendal Pluchinsky said.
It takes heart to run a race — more importantly, it takes one that works.
Last year, the twins were diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It’s a condition that causes extra electrical pathways grow in the heart, creating an irregular heartbeat.
They first noticed something was wrong when Kendal Pluchinsky came home after cross-country practice last October.
“Looking at him when he come in the house, I’m just like, ‘You tired, buddy, you whipped?’ And he bent over and he’s like, ‘Mom, feel this.’ And she reaches up and just as she pushed against his shirt, I could see his heart pounding out of his chest,” the boys’ father, Rob Pluchinsky, told 24 Hour News on Thanksgiving.
For 21 hours, Kendal Pluchinsky’s heartrate was between 160 and 255 beats per minute. The diagnosis came soon after.
Doctors performed surgery to fix the problem. It was a success on the first try.
But doctors weren’t able to repair it the same way for Ashton. It was too risky.
“First surgery come by, I said, ‘I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing. They’re doctors. They know much more.’ Then a second surgery came by, right, I wake up and it was another failure,” Ashton Pluchinsky said.
It wasn’t until a third try by University of Michigan doctors that the problem was repaired.
Now, the brothers are both back on course.
“I see determination on their face to get to the finish line, that’s what I see and I’m happy for them,” Adrianne Pluchinksy, the boys’ mother, said.
The boys now certainly have enough strength and heart to focus on their brotherly competition.
“I came right around and beat him every single time, and we were pushing each other,” Ashton Pluchinsky said.
“I was like, ‘What the heck, man?’ I’m beating him having the time of my life and the next thing you know he comes around the corner I’m like, ‘What the-?'” his brother said.