TYLER, TX - Have you ever looked at your driver’s license? I mean really looked at it? Is there a red heart on it? That comes from signing up to be an organ donor. Filling out a simple piece of paper at the DMV can saves lives.
That’s what happened to the Novak family.
Salem Novak was only four months pregnant when they found out potentially devastating news, her unborn child had Hypoplastic Left Heart syndrome.
A devastating diagnosis that made the happy couple feel hopeless.
Just a few months later, Stark came into the world with half a heart.
He was living happily with his little half-heart. The Novak’s even becoming hopeful hearing about people living into their 20s and 30s with half a heart. But it wasn't that way for Stark.
Before the age of two he had already received three open heart surgeries.
At the age of two, Stark went into heart failure. He would not survive without a heart transplant.
"We really had to stop and think is transplant really what we want for him. Are we being selfish by listing him for transplant? Are we just trying to hold onto him?" Salem said.
They took a chance and after being on the list for six weeks they learned there was a heart for Stark on his dad’s birthday.
After surgery things were rough. Stark was on 14 different medications that he needed to take four times a day. As time went on he has been able to take less and less medications.
This journey has led Salem to Southwest Transplant Alliance. She now volunteers with the organization that she says helped to save her little boy’s life.
Now, at five-years-old Stark is in Kindergarten and is experiencing what it’s like to have a loose tooth for the first time.
The Novak’s share their story on Facebook on a page called ‘Starks Little Heart’ helping to raise awareness about Congenital Heart Defects and the need for donors.
© 2018 KYTX-TV