Twins born premature continue to inspire others

Thomas and Charles Stroop were born at 28 weeks old, more than three months early in 1980; Thomas weighing two pounds and three ounces and Charles one pound and 15 ounces.

Thomas (l) and Chucky (r) at a family event. The twins, now 32-years-old, were born three months premature and cared for at Children’s Low Birth Weight Clinic for several years.

While Thomas was completely healthy, Charles, or Chucky as he’s known, had suffered hydrocephalus. Both required extensive neonatal care at Parkland, and were then seen at the Low Birth Weight Clinic at Children’s to make sure that their growth and development excelled.

Their mother, Denise Stroop, said she was at total peace during the years her twin boys were seen at the clinic.

“They don’t care just about the health of your child,” Denise said. “They care about you like family.”

Present day, the twins are now 32 years old. Thomas served in the military and now has a family of his own. Chucky’s road has been a bit harder to travel. While he has cerebral palsy, Chucky has been a great inspiration to his friends, family and community, showing tremendous resiliency, given his challenges. He was recently inducted as an honorary U.S. Marine, the first ever.

Over the years, the twins, Denise and her husband and their two other boys, developed a special bond with the staff of the clinic, staying in contact over the years. The family attended the clinic’s 30-year anniversary in 2009 and some of the clinic’s staff attended Chucky’s honorary Marine ceremony.

“It’s amazing to stay in contact with a family so long,” said Elizabeth Heyne, PA-C. “It’s been such an honor to see how resilient both of these two young men have been over the years.”

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