'Now I can go on the hill and play with my dog, and just enjoy life'
MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. -- A brave Riddle High School teen is smiling again, with a strong heart and new found appreciation for life.
Casey Evans is a typical teenager that loves the outdoors.
In August of 2012, Casey's world was turned upside down. "Well, I was cutting wood and I was having problems breathing and I was just not feeling normal," he said.
That's when Casey says he got the bad news. "I told my mom and we went to the hospital, and they just ran some tests and life-flighted me to Portland," Casey said.
Casey was suffering from cardiomyopothy Casey's heart was enlarged to what doctors described to him as a 'ten,' when a normal heart should have been a 'six' or 'seven.'
Jody Evans, Casey's mom, says it was almost too late. "His organs were shutting down, and so, we almost lost him and OHSU came and asked to treat him as an adult and put an LVAD in, which is an electric heart pump," Jody said.
An LVAD, or Left Ventricular Assist Device, is something doctors said was basically just a bridge to keep him alive while waiting for a new heart.
He actually had no pulse without it, and had to carry around a 13 pound pack for an entire year.
Casey tried to continue life as normal as possible.
Casey was still unable to do what he loved most. "Before I got sick I liked to ride my 4-wheeler with my dog," he said. "After I got sick I couldn't do it because my quad didn't have shocks or anything because it's really old."
Casey received a new heart in September.
Then, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Absolute Motosports surprised him with a side-by-side ATV.
An ATV that is safe for him and his blue heeler Riley Blue to ride in. "Now I can go on the hill and play with my dog, and just enjoy life," Casey said.
Enjoying life is exactly what Casey is doing now.
Now, as four months have passed since his surgery, Casey just got released to return to school.