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Soquel teen receives heart transplant – Santa Cruz Sentinel

By Kara Guzman

Santa Cruz Sentinel

POSTED:   10/15/2013 07:02:18 PM PDT

Soquel teen receives heart transplant - Santa Cruz Sentinel

Gavin Jack, a 2013 Soquel High graduate, has been in the hospital since Aug. 18 for… ( Picasa )

SOQUEL — Gavin Jack, a Soquel teenager who has undergone three open-heart surgeries in two months, received a long-awaited heart transplant Friday at Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

The 2013 Soquel High graduate was diagnosed with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, a genetic heart condition, in October 2011. He has been in the hospital’s cardiovascular intensive care unit since Aug. 18 battling heart failure and a lung infection.

“Home is on the horizon,” said Tony Jack, Gavin’s father.

The parents received word on Thursday night that a donor heart was being flown in for their son. The next morning, before being rolled into the operating room Gavin Jack told his mother, “See you when I wake up with my new heart, mom.”

Doctors operated on Jack for 10 hours, fixing his lung and connecting his donated heart.

Jack awoke the next morning and waved at his younger brother. A doctor explained to him that the transplant had gone well, and asked him to sleep and get rest.

By Sunday morning Jack was able to sit up and talk with friends and family.

“He is having full-blown conversations, completely lucid,” said his father. “A lot of the edge that was on him before the transplant is gone. I see more of the his original personality coming through.”

Doctors expect Jack to remain in intensive care for two more weeks, and possibly return home within six weeks. Jack will have to stay close to Stanford’s hospital for the next three to six months.

“When people go through a medical experience like this, their life changes. His has changed tremendously,” his father said. “I know he’s amazed by the outpouring of support.”

On Friday, the same night as the transplant, seven Santa Cruz County police officers competed in “Gavin’s Race,” a fundraiser at Watsonville Speedway that brought in more than $4,200 for Jack’s transplant. Scotts Valley police Lt. John Hohmann, organizer for the event, said that the crowd of spectators erupted when he announced at 7 p.m. that Gavin’s new heart was in and beating. “Some prayers were answered that day,” Hohmann said.

Follow Sentinel reporter Kara Guzman at

At a glance

Gavin Jack

WHO: Soquel 18-year-old with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, a genetic heart condition affecting 1 in 5,000 individuals. It is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death among young athletes. Symptoms include irregular or rapid heartbeats and fainting.

WHAT: Received a heart transplant Friday, estimated cost $75,000

FOLLOW JACK: On Facebook, search for ‘Gavin Jack Cardio’ or ‘Team Gavin’


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