[UPDATE, W/ NEW PLEA FOR DONATIONS] Zeke Kendall, 19-Year-Old OCC Student, Needs Help For Heart Transplant
"I'm not the type of person to reach out to the public for help,"Amber Weiser
told me, her soft voice dropping to hold back tears, "but I just don't know what to do."
Weiser's brother was rushed to the emergency room on Nov. 9th on what started out as a pretty normal day and now his life is in grave danger.
Zeke Kendall, a 19-year-old Orange Coast College student who'd been recovering from the flu, went to work at Barnes and Noble by South Coast Plaza only to be sent home by his manager that evening because his lips were turning blue.
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When Kendall managed to get to Hoag Hospital he had a body temperature of 94 degrees and seemed to be experiencing similar symptoms to hypothermia. His blood pressure was undetectable. His family was hugely relieved when two days later an open bed was found in the ICU at UCLA Medical Center and he was rushed over.
Tests show that Kendall's heart is enlarged because of a blood clot, and that a heart transplant is necessary to save his life.
This sort of dramatic health problem out of nowhere and in someone so young is rare, but Weiser said that Kendall's biological mother (he was adopted at one week old) had similar problems on her side of the family.
Kendall is reportedly at the top of the donor list and will hopefully receive a transplant soon. But medical expense will be enormous and if Kendall survives this battle he will have to get a new transplant every 10 to 15 years. His family has started a Facebook page and fundraiser to help bring good vibes and raise money.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Zeke and his family.
Doctors at the UCLA Medical Center told the family that Kendall's heart was the worse they had ever seen. It was the size of a football and the bottom two ventricles had to be removed.
Yet Kendall remains strong, and his sister, Amber Weiser, said that his sarcasm is returning. "His strength has blown me away," she expressed proudly, "he's one of the strongest people I know."
While Kendall continues to recover he will be taken off of the donor list. It will take his body some time to repair itself before being strong enough to enter another surgery. For now, doctors plan on keeping Kendall in the hospital through Christmas and possibly January.
All of this hospital time and now the need for a second surgery is putting an even greater financial burden on the family. Some celebrities, Kim Kardashian and Mario Lopez, have caught wind of Zeke's story and used their power to spread the word. However, the family has only raised a little under 7% of the $150,000 needed to cover medical expenses.
If you would like to support the Kendall's this holiday season, visit the Cota donor page.
For emotional support, please leave Zeke a message on his Facebook page.
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