Cordova cheerleaders honor area heart warrior

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 9/23/17

CORDOVA — Cheerleaders at Cordova High School honored an area boy whose heart has touched the community.

Cordova Elementary kindergartener “Super” Jack Odom was born with congenital heart disease — double inlet, left ventricle — which …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

Cordova cheerleaders honor area heart warrior

Posted

CORDOVA — Cheerleaders at Cordova High School honored an area boy whose heart has touched the community.

Cordova Elementary kindergartener “Super” Jack Odom was born with congenital heart disease — double inlet, left ventricle — which his mom, Crystal Odom, describes as having half of a heart. Jack had open heart surgery when he was just 4 months old, and he had another surgery last year at the age of 4.

“Basically, they’ve rerouted all the blood flow away from his heart. Instead of his heart pumping blood, blood just passively flows through his heart to his lungs,” Odom said. “He’s been doing really well since his surgery last year. Right now, we’re in a holding pattern and waiting to see what the next thing will be.”

Jack will have an echocardiogram each year to monitor his heart condition. His mom says the type of surgery he had can impact children differently, and many eventually need a heart transplant when they get older. The heart condition can also potentially affect the blood flow to other organs. Despite what the future could hold, Jack is like any other 5-year-old little boy, and Odom says most people would never know her son has a heart condition.

Every year, Crystal Odom — along with Jack and his father, Josh — attend Harper’s Heart Run in Gardendale. The 4th annual event honors Harper, a 4-year-old girl who was also born with a heart condition that resulted in open heart surgery in 2015.

She is a friend of Jack’s, and the run is held each year in her honor to benefit the pediatric cardiology center of Children’s of Alabama hospital.

Odom is a 9th grade English teacher and cheer coach at Cordova High School, and she asked the varsity cheerleaders if they would be interested in attending the run on Sept. 16 to cheer on the children and runners in attendance. She said they didn’t hesitate.

“At the beginning of the race, they stood at the start line on both sides and cheered everybody on, and then they went to the finish line and cheered everybody on as they came back in,” Odom said. “It was first thing in the morning after they had a ball game the night before, and they came just to be supportive because they all love Jack. ... I thought it was so sweet.”

Cheerleaders who attended the run were Madison Drew, Meagan Hicks, Whitney Abbott, Hannah Lawson, Kaylyn Chilton, Emma Ferguson, Skye Adair, Katelyn Laye, Molly Nugent, Ginny Posey and Maycie Freeman.

All children with heart conditions at the event received a superhero cape with the words “heart warriors” affixed.

“It was very nice. It was very sweet. Jack felt like he was the most important kid on the planet,” Odom said.

The kids were also awarded medals for being survivors.

Odom said she is so grateful to Cordova’s cheerleaders for supporting her son, and she sees a bright future ahead for Super Jack and his 2-year-old brother, Harrison.

“Jack is an extraordinary kid in so many ways. He is braver and stronger than most of us could ever hope to be. He has endured more in his short five years than most do in a lifetime, and yet he never even mentions it,” Odom said. “To Jack, open-heart surgery and zipper scars are just a part of life. To Jack, Children’s Hospital is just that place we live at sometimes. And doctors and nurses are our friends.

“Congenital heart disease is Jack’s normal, and we pray that he never allows it to define him or hold him back. Our greatest prayer for Jack is that he will embrace who he is, broken heart and all. God made him special and we pray that God will use him to move mountains. Whatever path Jack chooses to take in life, whoever he grows up to become, we pray that he will be extraordinary.”

To continue following Jack’s journey, visit www.facinggoliath.blogspot.com.