Local News

Cary teen who received heart transplant 'just keeps going'

Posted September 10, 2013

— Seventeen-year-old Lucas Santos has been spending a considerable amount of time running around his Cary neighborhood lately.

“Whenever I feel tired, I stop, and my heart tells me just keep going,” he said. “It feels like it’s just saying just keep going.”

Running is something the Cary High School senior doesn’t take for granted. Born with a congenital heart defect known as Ebstein anomaly, he underwent a heart transplant in November after showing signs of heart failure.

Santos said he’s doing well with his new heart, and his body is showing no more signs of rejection. He has returned to Cary High School and is playing trombone again in the marching band.

He is also training for a race. The “Run Your Heart Out 5K” will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday in Cary. Sponsored by the nonprofit Children’s Organ Transplant Association, the race is a fundraiser to help defray medical costs for Santos’ transplant.

“It might be a chance for me to show how good I can be out there,” Santos said. “I feel as ready as I’ll ever be.”

Cary teen ready to run after heart transplant After heart transplant, Cary teen ready to run

The teen also said he’s learned certain lessons from his struggle with his health in the last year – lessons about faith, patience and endurance.

“God has taught me not to fear. Just don't fear, don’t worry,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association said the campaign has raised more than $57,000 toward the goal of $60,000 for Santos’ care. A few more fundraising events are planned before the Nov. 5 deadline, which marks a year from the date of his transplant.

Santos says he thinks he will “come out on top” in the race.

“As long as I finish, I’m a happy camper,” he said.


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  • simplelogic Sep 13, 2013

    Deb1003, I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I can't imagine anything more difficult for a parent to go through. Bless you and your family for being able to find the generosity in the midst of your tragedy to consider the need of others. My sister recently received a kidney from a generous stranger such as yourself, and the gratitude we all feel is beyond measure, and I'm absolutely positive that everyone who has a second chance at life because of your daughter feel the same way.

  • Deb1003 Sep 13, 2013

    Ford, yes, he's a brave young man making the most of his second chance for a life. Don't forget about the person or parents that chose to donate...they are equally as brave.

  • Deb1003 Sep 13, 2013

    It warms my soul to read his story. I lost my 11yo daughter 8 yrs ago and we agreed to donate as many organs as possible to allow others to live. I hope all that had the opportunity to live on through my daughters passing are thriving also.

  • westernwake1 Sep 11, 2013

    This is a good positive story. It is great to see this in the news on WRAL. Three cheers for Lucas. Great positive attitude!

  • CU Chemist Sep 11, 2013

    Lucas is a fantastic young man! There are still plenty of spots open for the 5K. If you are interested in running or if you would like to make a donation to COTA in honor of Lucas, please visit the links in the story.

  • HANS FOR PRESIDENT!!!!! JK Sep 11, 2013


  • simplelogic Sep 11, 2013

    I hope this young man is blessed with continued good health. I also hope that the family of the donor can take comfort in their loss, knowing that their gift has made such a difference in another person's life.

  • Inside The Beltline Sep 10, 2013

    How awesome. What an amazing young man. To all of you sitting on the lazyboy whining about how tired you are . . .

  • radical Sep 10, 2013

    Great Story!
    Nice to see something positive in the news!

  • forddp Sep 10, 2013

    I can't understand why there are no comments yet. This is an inspiring story about a brave young man. He deserves our admiration and support.