Two strangers more than 100 miles away are helping a Central Coast teenager raise money for a heart transplant. 18-year-old Gavin Jack has been in the hospital for almost four weeks now, battling a degenerative heart disease.
“I was just surprised to see how strong his grip was and how much he moved his head,” said Tony Jack, Gavin’s father.
Tony said while he is seeing improvement in his son, every day has been a fight.
“He needs to improve to a level where by best estimations by the cardiologist that he can accept a heart transplant. That’s what we’re hoping for in the next couple of days,” he said.
Gavin, the former football player at Soquel High School, was just getting ready to attend San Diego State University. His plans were cut short after being diagnosed with a heart disease, known as ARVD.
Kyli Oleson wants to help Gavin get a heart transplant. “It’s not fair that it costs $75,000 to save a kid’s life,” she said.
Oleson lives 160 miles away in Roseville, which is near Sacramento. The two have never met.
“When I found out about Gavin’s condition, it hit home for me. He’s also in high school and I realized that could be me,” Oleson said.
Oleson met Anjillena Pereira through the Beside the Blue Foundation. It helps Caifornia law enforcement families in need. Once the two got together, what once was Oleson’s senior project turned into an all-out fundraiser to get Gavin a new heart.
“It makes me feel good he could die at any time that I know I am helping someone and changing his life,” Pereira said.
“They’ve been fantastic, and they’re just strangers who stepped up and filled a need,” Tony Jack said.
He said he wants parents with kids in sports to pay attention to what their kids tell them about their health. Gavin’s condition is rare and he said it never would have been caught without an ultrasound by a cardiologist.
For information on how you can help, visit the Team Gavin Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TeamGavinJ