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A Double Dose Of Inspiration

Blake (from left), Rory, Carsen and Donna Otto at the Neon Vibe 5K Jan. 3 at Aloha Stadium | Yu Shing Ting photo

Blake (from left), Rory, Carsen and Donna Otto at the Neon Vibe 5K Jan. 3 at Aloha Stadium | Yu Shing Ting photo

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to do the Neon Vibe 5K run with 11-year-old twins Blake and Carsen Otto of Kaneohe.

The event served as a benefit for Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, with a portion of the proceeds donated to Kapiolani’s Children’s Miracle Network.

As we walked the family-friendly fun run at Aloha Stadium, I asked the boys if they knew why I was walking with them and interviewing them. They replied, “Because we’re awesome.”

Yes, they are awesome.

From the day they were born, they’ve inspired others to have hope. Both were born premature at 3-and-a-half months before they were due, and weighed less than 2 pounds each.

Though parents Rory and Donna Otto also have an older son, 14-year-old Devin, who also was born premature, the early arrival of the twins was still very unexpected.

According to Blake and Carsen, Blake is into the “nerdy stuff,” such as band (he plays the drums), and wants to be a book writer and inventor. He also has his own pressure washer business, and his mom wants him to be a balloonist. Carsen, who is the older twin by seven minutes, wants to be an actor.

“Donna’s pregnancies were perfect, and all of a sudden in four hours our lives were changed,” recalls Rory. “At the time, we talked to doctors and the prognosis wasn’t good. They had a 50/50 chance of living. That’s the hardest thing, just not really knowing what was going to be the outcome.

“So, for us, we go to these things because we want people to know that we did it at 25 weeks and we made it. This could happen to anybody. But there is hope, and there is a chance.”

When they were born in November 2002 at Kapiolani Medical Center, Blake stayed in the NICU for four months and Carsen for three months before they could go home. They both experienced lung problems but have since overcome them. Now they attend St. Anthony School in Kailua, and both are doing really well – Blake is on the honor roll and Carsen is close. Devin, who attends Le Jardin Academy, also is doing very well and is “obsessed with video games,” notes the younger siblings.

“We really appreciate what Kapiolani did for us,” says Rory, who owns Nylawn, a company specializing in synthetic turf, playground equipment and surfacing. “(When the babies were there) Donna would go and spend the day there and I would go at night. It’s one of the top neonatal hospitals in the country, and having that in our backyard was a godsend. Because of the knowledge they had, (our children) had a chance and we got lucky three times. So we want to continue to give hope and raise awareness about the hospital.”