CODY “A Survivor of Heart Disease”

Information supplied by Lisa Young

When you hear the words “A Survivor of Heart Disease,” you probably wouldn’t think of a baby or a young person. Sometimes the outward, physical appearance cannot tell the whole story about a person.

Cody Young was born on August 15, 1984, to Lisa and Tony Young of Centerville. He seemed to be a healthy baby boy, but at two weeks of age, he was losing weight and had some blue coloring around his mouth and eyes. After a check up with his doctor, his family was told Cody had a heart murmur. He was immediately taken by ambulance to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

After a number of tests, it was determined that Cody had a heart murmur and heart disease. The heart disease was called Truncus Arterosis, a rare type of congenital heart disease in which a single blood vessel arises from the right and left ventricles instead of the normal two blood vessels.

Cody’s heart was enlarged and he had a hole in his heart. It took a while to get Cody strong enough to even survive the surgery that he needed to save his life.

“Watching this happen to our baby was indescribable but our main concern was getting Cody strong enough for the surgery,” said his mother, Lisa.

Just short of one month after his birth, on September 12, 1984, the cardiology team determined it was time for the surgery; the risk was huge. While the family was waiting for Cody’s surgery, they learned that the cardiologist’s notes in Cody’s file had indicated that “if Baby Cody lives through the night they would do the surgery.”

Cody’s first surgery was a success. He had the hole in his heart patched and an artificial valve was attached to his heart. His recovery was excellent and we eventually came home with a healthy baby boy.

With each day, Cody continued to get stronger and healthier. By the time he was three years old, he had outgrown the artificial valve that he had received as a newborn. In August 1987, another open- heart surgery was completed and went perfectly.

Cody thrived and was a normal boy that played sports. He did everything that he was big enough to do. However, at the age of 13, it was time to replace the valve again.

In July 1997, the third open-heart surgery was performed; again it was a total success. He continued his education, graduating from Ola High School in May 2003.

“Cody has been such a blessing and inspiration to our whole family,” says his mom. “He has always worked, even in high school. He could be on disability but he refuses. He celebrated his 23rd birthday on August 15th. He is a very independent adult who lives alone and works full time at Kroger on South Arkansas in Russellville, but his greatest interest is playing music.”

Cody enjoys playing guitar with his church group, Centerville Assembly of God Church. He has three younger siblings — Austin Young, and Holly and Brett Young.

“To see and talk to Cody you would think ‘he is just an ordinary guy, living an ordinary life’ but what lies beneath would amaze a lot of people. He is tough and has been a fighter since the day he was born!”

“He is very special and we (his family) are so thankful to have him everyday. Going through something like this really makes you appreciate everyday we all have together and we treasure each day!” adds his mom. According to his mother, Cody has not had insurance since he turned 18 years old. He continues to go for yearly check-ups with his cardiologist and knows another surgery will have to take place at some time in the future. A July visit to his doctor revealed that his heart valve is still working fine.

“Cody’s story is a reminder that heart disease knows NO AGE LIMIT! Donations given to the American Heart Association are truly SAVING LIVES,” said Lisa Young.

“I hope everyone continues to do all they can to fight heart disease because anyone can be affected. It could just as easily affect a baby or grandbaby as it could happen to a parent or grandparent.

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