The call went out on a Monday. Kyla Robbins, 18, was at Duke Hospital, and had a special request. Kyla has a genetic mutation that causes a very rare heart condition. The genetic mutation affects the LMNA gene that causes a devastating and significantly life threatening disease called Emery Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy. The muscular dystrophy is what causes the heart failure. She needs a new heart, and she had come to Duke to see if the transplant team there would add her to their list.
Growing up going to Pride events around her home in Virginia, Kyla had interacted with drag queens many times, and found them to be caring, compassionate people. So with the help of her mom and the Duke staff, she asked for drag queens to help keep her spirits up. Her photo quickly went viral on Facebook, and queens from all over the country and beyond sent well wishes and local performers started making visits. On Thursday, just a few nights after the original request, a team of drag queens, led by Vivian Vaughn, and their friends arrived at Duke to spend time with Kyla and get to know her, two even driving in from Charlotte to show their love and support. Kyla has made the list for a transplant and still faces many challenges going forward, but for at least a couple of hours she got to simply be a teenager hanging out with new friends. Kyla is a big fan of drag queens, and now all who were in the room for the visit are equally big fans of her.