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‘Half a heart, twice the fight’: Community rallies behind 9-year-old with heart condition

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:19 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - In only nine years, Lucas Jones has had his share of health concerns.

When his mother, Shakia Case, found out she was in what doctors considered a high-risk pregnancy, the worries began.

“Because we were told, you know, once he was born, he could be still born or even crash at birth,” said Case. “And that was really scary.”

From there, months of specialty doctors and appointments would lead to Lucas entering the world, directly into the NICU, diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Within six days, he was under the knife for his first open heart surgery to reroute his blood flow.

“Because his heart’s just not strong enough to do what it’s meant to do,” said his stepmother, Cindy May.

Before his first birthday, he was back in surgery for a shunt to help his blood mix. Since then, he has been through many more appointments and operations.

“It’s always an unknown with Lucas,” said May.

Though she said he is currently in a stable place medically, after his recent heart cath, the worry is always there that a heart transplant will be the next step.

“It’s not a matter of ‘if this happens’ or ‘will this happen?’ It’s just a ‘when,’” she said. “We could get a phone call next year, saying he needs to go on the list, or it could be 20 years from now.”

So, they take things day by day as Lucas enjoys the small things watching Criminal Minds or picking up the Nintendo Switch- getting a little competitive and fighting through every level, just like he does in life.

While in the hospital last week, his family said he was just missing one thing: Officer Russell Blankenship, his pal from the Pikeville Police Department.

“All Lucas talked about was how he wanted to call Officer Russell,” said May.

Monday, Officer Blankenship and a group from the Pikeville Police Department paid Lucas a visit, parading through the street to check on their little hero. Bringing with them a K-9, some official police department merch, and hooking Lucas up with a Hammy plushie to keep him strong as he fights on.

“It makes my heart shine to know we have a community that loves him, that wants to do something special for him,” said Case.

Though they can’t be sure what tomorrow holds on any given day, they are confident in one thing.

“I win,” said Lucas.

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