Fighting for his heart

A brave hero surviving through CHD


Photo Courtesy of Colin Ribaya

Softmore Sam burton and Millard west friends Noah Behrens and DJ Schiemann at the heart hero event supporting Sam

Colin Ribaya, Staff Reporter

Sophomore Samuel Burton was diagnosed with Coronary Heart disease at birth, an illness that can affect the shape of the heart and how it functions and performs. There is no known cause or prevention for CHD (Coronary Heart disease). It cannot be cured but can be treated to prevent heart attacks. Every six months, Samuel has to go for a daily check-up and get surgery on his heart to ensure it’s functioning correctly and healthy enough to pump blood through the body.

Heart Heros, an organization by a group of moms was developed in 2009. Starting with a group of moms, they created an organization for people with heart defects. Leading up to the heart hero run a 2k and 5k run setup this Sunday. Volunteers set up tents and prepared food like hotdogs and nachos for the runners to enjoy after completing the run. Sam’s family has been supporting him by praying and spending time together bonding with his close friends. Joe has been a prominent family supporter by getting volunteers and his close friends to volunteer and cheer on him.

Volunteers and the heart hero organization thought of the idea to create a red cape to give to kids who have CHD to lighten them up and represent them as a survivor at the heart hero run.  Kids diagnosed with CHD can order a red cape on the heart hero website to give to a heart hero in your life who has the strength, courage, and boldness to represent them as a hero.

Graduating from Millard West, Joe Burton, Sam Burton’s older brother, has supported Sam through these challenging times. Joe Burton goes above and beyond to ensure Sam is healthy and stays positive daily.

“We have supported Sam with heart heroes by getting him plugged into a heart community that knows exactly what he is going through,” Joe Burton said. Whether through prayer, medical help, or physical needs we were always by his side,” Burton said. “Every single run, I am there helping my mom with whatever she needs,” Burton said.

Besides Joe Burton supporting Sam, his sister Anna Burton, a senior at Millard West, gathers friends to promote the heart run all around school and help Sam in different ways. What makes Anna Burton overjoyed is Sam Burton just being a heart survivor through the hard times he’s facing. Still, he knows he has Anna and his family to support him. With her photography skills, she can capture unforgettable moments from the heart run that will hit home to many people just seeing what the event is and how it can impact different people.

“I used to, but a few years ago, I started volunteering as a photographer so I can take photos while Sam works at the check-in desk registering all the runners and making sure people know where they should go,” Anna Burton said. “For as long as I remember, my mom has been putting on these runs,” Burton said.”The runs have turned from only 10 people to now being over a thousand,” Burton said. “It’s amazing to experience it all coming together,” Burton said. Sam and I could help stuff bags, organize things for my mom, and be there first thing in the morning to help with the type of stuff,” Burton said.

”It is beyond cool for me to see how he lives every day just being a normal kid and doesn’t let any conditions define who he is with,” Burton said. By looking at him, you would never know he has suffered from 11 strokes and has had three open heart surgeries,” Burton said.  “It’s been cool to see how once a small community has now turned into a world,” Burton said.”

Sam has been struggling with CHD, but he knows he has a family of supporters. The heart event touches down on Sam just having a run where people can donate money for completing the run to help Sam and the other people who are suffering from heart disease.

“My family loves being a part of Heart Heroes and seeing the difference we are making in people ‘s lives who are affected by CHD, ” Sam Burton said. “Going to all the events they put on during the year and hearing other people’s stories, Burton said.”