Updated with Zeke's new heart on the bottom...

(UPDATE: Zeke Received a Heart!] OCC Student Zeke Kendall Suffers Stroke and Continues to Need Help


When will sweet Zeke Kendall catch a break? The 19-year-old Costa Mesa resident was rushed to the UCLA ICU back in November because his heart was suddenly failing. The Weekly has been in touch with Kendall's sister, Amber Weiser ever since and reported on the developments. But this week we received some more devastating news.

Last weekend, Kendall suffered a stroke due to a blood clot that had traveled to his brain. The stroke left him with partial blindness in one eye, and without the ability to read. Until that point, Kendall was still in the ICU recovering from his artificial heart transplant. His was growing stronger and continued to have a nice, healthy, sarcastic attitude about the whole thing.

Even after the stroke, it appears that not much has changed. "I went to see him and he is already reading sentences," Weiser commented only a few days after the occurrence. "It was a set back, but we are moving forward again."

Yet while the family remains strong, and have warm smiles in every photo with Kendall; their finances are not having such an easy time. "He will continue to need heart transplants every 10-15 years," Weiser wrote in an email. "In addition [to] his anti-rejection medication, copays are outrageous."

Once he receives a real heart, "he will also be taking approx. 14 pills a day, which are extremely expensive, so his body won't reject the new heart," she wrote on Kendall's Facebook page.

To help with expenses, the family has set up a donations page and will have a fancy auction at Mixology in Los Angeles on Thursday, Feb. 21. Oddly, and fantastically enough, the family has Mario Lopez and Maria Menounos to thank for setting up the auction. The two celebrities will host the event and auction off things like a signed Lakers b-ball, shopping sprees, and vacations. A ticket to the event will cost you $100 (tax-deductible), and you may purchase them until Feb. 14 on the Children's Organ Transplant Association website.

For now, Zeke has learned to use the "Freedom Driver," a backpack that carries all the tubes and machines that he needs to keep the heart pumping and stay alive. Once his parents and the local police and firemen are trained on how to work the devices, then Zeke can rest at home until his new heart arrives.

"He is a fighter!" Weiser writes, and everybody at the Weekly is continuing to root for Zeke.

(UPDATE: Zeke Received a Heart!] OCC Student Zeke Kendall Suffers Stroke and Continues to Need Help

UPDATE, JAN. 28, 10:00 P.M. One week ago a new heart finally came for Zeke Kendall. After almost two months of being in the hospital, one artificial heart, and one stroke later - Zeke will finally be able to go home. 

Understandably, he cannot speak much now, and is constantly under watch, but his last drainage tubes were removed on Thursday and he's in "the home stretch," writes his sister, Amber Weiser. Today, Zeke had a heart biopsy and if his tests continue to go well Zeke will go home tomorrow! 

Weiser writes for the whole family on Zeke's Facebook page, "Words will never be enough to express our gratitude to the great Doctors, nurses, and staff! Thank you UCLA!"

The Weekly would also like to thank everyone who's offered the Kendalls support, and hopes, really hopes, that we won't need to write about Zeke anymore!

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >