Teen Heart Transplant Survivor Climbs Mountains, Celebrates Life

If you look at a photo of Jesse Phillips, a rising senior at Ravenwood High School, you would never know that one year ago he suffered a heart attack while having a routine surgical procedure. On July 28, 2014 Jesse’s life and the lives of his family, would be forever changed.

After testing and biopsies at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital, the family was told that Jesse’s cardio myopathy was genetic and he had silently been living with an increasingly weakening heart. Surviving the heart attack would be described by some as luck, for the Phillip’s family, they know God was with their son. The only choice would be for Jesse to have a heart transplant.

To give you an idea of how active Jesse was all the time not knowing his heart was a ticking time-bomb, his father shared this list: 300 miles of Appalachian Trail hiking; 5 years of Brentwood Blaze Football; 6 seasons of Rugby; 5 seasons of Wrestling; 1 Cross Country season; 3 half marathons – best time 1:36. And earlier in the summer (prior to the heart attack,) 5 days of hiking in Colorado, including a hike up to 13,000 feet.

Jesse’s heart sustained him long enough to receive a life saving heart transplant on August 21, 2014. The young athlete came through the surgery with his fighting spirit in tact and Jesse would leave the hospital only ten days after surgery. Thirty five total days spent at Children’s Hospital.

Faith, family and with a strength beyond belief, the Phillips family–parents Joshua and Amy, sisters Lydia and Gabby, and older brother Seth–surrounded their brother with love, never leaving his side. In addition, the family had tremendous support from their extended and church families. The physicians and staff at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital who saved Jesse’s life are considered a part of the family.

Jesse’s entire journey is documented on his Facebook page, Prayer’s for Jesse. Today, almost a year later Jesse, while on vacation with his parents and siblings, climbed Mt. Belford in Colorado at over 14,000 ft. A tough climb for anyone, let alone someone who is only a year out from receiving a new heart.

Celebrate LifeOn the one year anniversary of Jesse’s transplant, Friday, August 21, 2015 a Celebration of Life will be held at Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood.  The entire community is invited to the celebration and all proceeds from the evening will go to children’s hospital. To sign up to attend, or make a donation, visit Celebrate Life with Jesse Phillips and Family.

A night of fun, fellowship and dancing to music by 80’s cover band The Rubik’s Groove, the Phillips family hopes to see everyone on Friday, August 21.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. What an inspiring story! I know Jessie and and entire family are praising God with every breath! I am so happy for Jessie and the rest of the family’.God must have important plans for your life, Jessie!

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