’He loves to play’: Charlotte boy stays strong after double lung transplant

CHARLOTTE — Justin “Big Deuce” Oliver has overcome more challenges in the past two years than most people face their entire lives.

He developed an extremely rare lung condition and had a double lung transplant. The boy even overcame COVID-19.

“He loves to run,” said Brenda Foster, Big Duce’s grandmother. “He loves to play. He loves to talk, and he’s just so smart.”

[Charlotte toddler to undergo double lung transplant in Texas]

The lung condition affects one in a million children.

“No matter what things seem like, no matter what the doctors say, prayer changes things,” his Aunt Janice Easterling said.

Big Deuce went to Texas Childrens Hospital in Houston and doctors performed a one-of-a-kind double lung transplant and saved his life one year ago. After three months in the hospital, he returned to Charlotte. A couple of weeks ago his family gave him a one-year anniversary party to celebrate the moment he returned home.

“He received gifts and toys,” Foster said. “We played and just celebrated and, you know, he was just so happy.”

Big Deuce then contracted COVID-19.

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“He had COVID,” Foster said. “We flew him back to Texas. He came back stronger than he left.”

He flies back to Texas every three months for a transplant checkup and the flights are free thanks to Miracle Flights.

“Deuce’s story is similar to a lot of patients we fly in that they have an extreme rare condition and there is one or two doctors in the country, maybe in the world, who can treat them.”

Big Deuce will be traveling this weekend to Houston for a checkup.

“It’s nothing that he goes through that seems to bring him down,” Foster said. “He’s just one of those kids that God truly has.”