About Ethan Hendon

Ethan Hendon was born on July 7, 2006 in the wee hours of the morning after a seemingly “normal” pregnancy, labor and delivery. Ethan’s mother, Cassandra, later wrote about that moment when her second child entered the world: “I heard him cry. Relief. As soon as you hear that cry something in your heart makes you think it is all okay.” But that relief soon turned to angst as nurses brought Ethan to Cassandra and Ethan’s father Shawn for a fleeting moment and then took him away into the recesses of intensive care. By 6:00am doctors conveyed the news no parents want to hear, the news that Ethan was very sick and would need to be moved to a hospital that was more equipped to handle the severity of his condition. The prognosis was bleak. Ethan might not survive the next 24 hours they said. Cassandra and Shawn needed to prepare for the worst.

Ethan was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  As is often the case with newborns born with heart defects, other issues that were less critical complicated care and limited treatment options. After being transferred twice in the next few days, Ethan became a patient at Miami’s Children’s Hospital where doctors, staff, and administrators provided the world class care Ethan (and many, many other children) needed to not only survive, but to maintain a quality of life that would not have been possible even a decade ago. The days, months, and now years of care have been difficult for Ethan and his family. He has endured three open heart surgeries and numerous other procedures that have not only sustained him, but allowed him a chance at living a relatively “normal” life. Ethan has become a survivor, an inspiration, a gift, and through it all he has brought life and joy to many who may have otherwise not had the privilege of his infectious joy and determination.  Ethan has beaten the odds and is by any measure a true Super Hero!

Ethan LOVES super heroes, and you will see many pictures of him proudly wearing the colors of his favorites. Super heroes take on many forms and it is no stretch at all to say that those who have contributed to Ethan’s care represent the true super heroes in this world! All those who meet Ethan would quickly agree that Ethan is in fact a super hero himself! He has, through these difficult times, embodied the characteristics of real-life super heroes. His life and struggles have not deterred Ethan from living up to his name which means “strong, firm and steadfast;” all excellent traits of any real life super hero!

By the grace of GOD and the tools of man, Ethan has survived far beyond the original prognosis. He has grown into a little man, but his damaged heart can only take him so far. There is a fine balance between being too sick or too healthy to be a candidate for heart transplant, but in early 2014, doctors recommended that Ethan be listed as a 1A heart transplant candidate. The Hendon’s agreed with the doctor’s recommendation and believe that this is the best path toward improving Ethan’s quality of life and gives him the best chance to grow and flourish!

Heart transplant surgery is a difficult procedure and involves a lengthy recovery period. There are significant hurdles for both Ethan and his family. 

With the cost of a transplant often exceeding $500,000, many transplant families are unable to shoulder the financial burden of such a procedure.  The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) is a national charity dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-related expenses.  The Hendon family is partnering with COTA to raise $100,000 in honor of Ethan to cover transplant-related expenses.

"We are deeply thankful and humbled by your out-pouring of support, and we have been blessed by so many of you that have come alongside us in this time of need," says Cassandra. "Ethan and the entire Hendon family are forever grateful and again we thank you for your incredible benevolence."  

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