Research Saves Lives Team Everett

by Team Everett

We're supporting: Help Fund Life-Saving and Life-Changing Research by Enduring Hearts, Inc.



Enduring Hearts is the only nonprofit solely dedicated to funding innovative research that helps kids living with heart transplants live longer, healthier lives.

Our Story

A successful heart transplant should be the end of the journey. But for a child living with a new heart, it is just the beginning. After all, heart transplants don't last forever, the average only lasts about 17 years. 

Enduring Hearts exists to fund the critical, yet often overlooked research needed to help eliminate rejection, prevent life-threatening complications and reduce the risk that a child will need a second transplant. We fund research for promising new treatments, diagnostic tests, and clinical

procedures that help eliminate rejection and long-term complications.

Our goal is to create a world where every child who needs a new heart is able to get one that lasts a lifetime.

Help support the Enduring Hearts mission by contributing towards life-changing and life-saving research today!

You are a heart hero.

Atlanta-based Enduring Hearts launched in 2013 with a mission to fund research that increases the longevity of pediatric heart transplants, improve the quality of life for children living with a new heart and eliminate pediatric heart diseases that may lead to a transplant.

Thank you for your support!

Everett’s transplant journey started while he was in utero. As first-time parents, Kelley and Jeremy Gray were beyond excited when they learned the news of their pregnancy. However, at the 20-week prenatal anatomy scan, the baby was diagnosed with a severe congenital heart defect (CHD) known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. This meant Everett would be born with a small, underdeveloped and nonfunctioning left ventricle and would not survive without surgery.

Jeremy and Kelley welcomed Everett to the world a little earlier than they expected when he arrived five weeks premature. He was transferred to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston the night he was born, and his first open heart surgery was performed when he was just two days old. The surgery was successful, but the recovery was long and difficult for the tiny infant. Everett’s second open heart surgery, the Glenn procedure, was performed when he was almost five months old. His cardiologist’s plan was for Everett to have a third open-heart surgery around age 4, and the family hoped for a time of more normalcy with their precious son until then, despite the frequent doctor appointments, daily medications, and developmental therapies that are part of life for a child with a severe CHD.  The family understood that Everett would eventually need a heart transplant, but the hope was that the staged palliative surgeries would buy him more time until then because the need for healthy, matching organ donations outpaces the availability.

Then in the middle of the night on March 31, 2015, when Everett was 3 years old, he woke up struggling to breathe. They rushed to Egleston’s ER and after an emergency cardiac catheterization, learned the devastating news that Everett was, for the second time in his young life, in severe heart failure. It became clear to the doctors that Everett’s heart would not recover and his condition would continue to decline. On April 3rd, he was listed for a heart transplant at the highest priority status while admitted to the cardiac intensive care unit to wait for a matching heart.

At 4:00 a.m. on June 4th, after 65 days in the cardiac unit, the Grays received the good news that there was a heart for Everett, and the transplant surgery began later that night. On June 9th, Everett was discharged to home. After a few minutes home and soaking it all in, Everett quickly picked up playing trains right where he left back in March.

Everett’s heart transplant truly gave him a second chance at life and the Grays try to be very intentional about not taking for granted any of these bonus days with their precious, amazing boy. But Everett’s family understands all too well that a transplant is not yet a cure, that transplant rejection is a constant threat, and that frequent doctor visits, daily medications, complications from immunosuppression, regular blood work, annual heart cath and biopsy procedures, and the costs in terms of time, money, and worry of all this play a large part in their lives as well. Without incredible medical advances, Everett will eventually require another transplant, which is why the Grays eagerly support the work and mission of Enduring Hearts because they believe we can do better for Everett and kids like him. We are so grateful to Everett’s donor’s family for their strength to say yes to a life-saving gift for Everett and we will do all we can to protect that precious heart. We are so thankful to Everett’s incredible team of doctors and nurses who have kept him alive and still work to keep him healthy and strong. We are so thankful to Enduring Hearts and its financial donors, scientific advisory board, and parent support network for giving us hope in a better future for Everett. And we are so thankful to everyone following Everett’s journey for your incredible support and encouragement.

Everett’s name means “strong and brave, like a wild boar,” and to date, his parents report they have not met anyone of any age who is stronger or braver. Because of the gift of his heart transplant and the hope that medical research will provide longer and better outcomes for kids like Everett, this little boy is able to go to school, live to the fullest, and dream about his future.