Deposit four-year-old awaits heart transplant in NYC

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(WBNG) — The wait for a new heart has now passed 100 days for Jackson Vandermark, who was admitted to Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York City on September 30th due to heart failure.

“He was born with congenital heart defects and because of that he developed pulmonary hypertension, which is difficult to treat,” said Jackson’s mother, Lisa Vandermark.

Jackson remains strong, according to his family.

“He’s feeling great, honestly he acts like any other little kid,” said Vandermark who said her son has been busy with fun events at the hospital from a puppet show, a visit from New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and a lot of Christmas gifts, which his mother said he has been busy with.

“You know if he’s running around he gets short of breath a lot easier than a healthy kid would, but you know he still runs around, and climbs on everything,” said Vandermark. “It doesn’t really hold him back from anything that’s for sure.”

Pulmonary hypertension (PH), is a type of high blood pressure that impacts arteries in the lungs and heart.

Vandermark told 12 News on Thursday that Jackson’s pulmonary pressure, “appeared higher than it has been on the echocardiogram.”

She said while doctors remain confident that the results came back that way due to a good sign with his lung’s right ventricle, a heart catheterization will be performed on Jackson on Friday to get more accurate results.

Vandermark added that they have to keep a close eye on her son’s pulmonary hypertension, “because if he were to get a new heart, his lungs could actually damage it.”

Vandermark said Jackson’s blood type is O, so he can only receive a heart with O type blood. As a licensed nurse who works with those with kidney failure and transplants, she is extra passionate about blood and organ donation.

Last month, the New Year’s Resolution Blood Drive in Johnson City honored her son. Jackson has had several blood transfusions, and Vandermark said he’ll need more.

RELATED: New Year’s Resolution Blood Drive reaches final days of blood donations

“I can never thank them enough,” explained Vandermark who encourages people to find the next nearby local blood drive, and/or become an organ donor in New York.

“It’s truly amazing how such a small community like the Southern Tier can come together to support one family,” said Vandermark.

Her and her husband Jay, a Johnson City Police Officer, travel back and forth from Deposit to New York City to be with their son. Jackson’s older sisters visit with their grandparents on the weekends.

RELATED: Community attends benefit for JCPD Officer’s son awaiting heart transplant

For more information, visit Jackson’s Facebook page, found here.

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Michael Schwartz

Michael Schwartz

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