A little more than two months ago, Cary teenager Lucas Santos underwent a successful heart transplant.
Just 12 days later, the 17-year-old was back home and next month he is planning to return to Cary High School.
As Lucas continues to make a stunning recovery, the family is also experiencing another remarkable occurrence.
Thanks to the help of the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, Lucas’ parents can focus on his recovery and not worry about the tremendous costs associated with the extensive medical procedure.
COTA is currently attempting to raise $60,000 in honor of Lucas, who was born with congenital heart disease.
Local COTA volunteer and Apex resident Angela Padgett said the whole purpose is to allow the family some peace of mind during the recovery process.
Instead of carrying the burden of mounting bills, Larry and Simone Santos can concentrate on Lucas and their daughter, Mikayla, who attends Salem Middle School.
“COTA really pulls everything together and then allows the community to take leadership of the fundraising,” said Padgett. “We have a year to reach our goal and with the help of lots of volunteers we’ll be holding many different fundraising events in the upcoming months.”
A small fundraiser was held recently at Char-Grill in Cary. The final numbers haven’t been tallied but it appears to have been quite a success.
“We waited in line for an hour,” said Padgett. “So, if that is any indication of how much support we have from the community then I’m confident we can reach our goal.”
Simone Santos can’t help but marvel at the outpouring of love from the Apex and Cary communities.
“COTA and the local community have made a world of difference in our lives,” said Simone. “We are able to focus on Lucas’ health and not worry about other things. It’s a feeling I can’t express. It’s just awesome.”
Although Lucas still faces a long road on his recovery, Simone takes comfort in knowing her family is never alone.
“It’s hard to think about all that we’ve gone through,” said Simone. “It has been difficult but we have trusted in the Lord and he has provided for us. We’ve also been so fortunate for all the wonderful support we have received from people. We are very thankful for all that COTA and the community are doing for us.”
Volunteers are needed to assist with fundraising activities that will help with transplant-related expenses. Individuals and groups interested in more information can contact community coordinator Sheri Ellington at 919-810-2104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations may be mailed to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, 2501 West COTA Drive, Bloomington, Indiana, 47403. Checks or money orders should be made payable to COTA, with “In Honor of Lucas Thomas S” written on the memo line of the check. Secure credit card donations are also accepted online at www.COTAforLucasThomasS.com.