Shane Deardorff’s senior year at Cheney High School had just begun last September, and he hadn’t been feeling well.
His stepmother, Aly Deardorff, said he kept telling her his stomach hurt; she’d give him some antacid. This went on for two weeks – and he doesn’t remember any of it.
It was about this time when his grandparents renewed their wedding vows and he attended the reception. There, he suddenly fell to the ground.
“He had a heart attack, and they put him in a coma,” his stepmother said.
She said he was always a very healthy kid, so his heart troubles took them by surprise.
“People kept telling me I had problems with my stomach,” Deardorff said. He has some memory loss of the time around the heart attack. “I missed close to a month (of school),” he said.
Many of his teachers gave him a pass for the time he missed, and he got right back into things in October.
“Pretty much at the end of that month, you couldn’t tell there was anything wrong with him,” Aly Deardorff said.
In his first month home, Deardorff had three doctor’s appointments a week. Now he has a defibrillator in his chest, and his appointments are minimal.
Cheney High has been understanding and gave Deardorff special privileges, his stepmother said. He needs to have his cellphone with him at all times, if something happens. The front office has a plan if it happens again.
“It’s pretty much just back to normal, really, but I think about it every day,” he said.
He’s counting down the days to graduation, like most seniors.
Always a big fan of history, especially ancient history, Deardorff will attend Spokane Falls Community College in the fall, then he plans to study at Eastern Washington University. He hopes to be a history or social studies teacher.
Deardorff likes to go to the park and play basketball with his friends. He used to play at school but isn’t allowed to do anything too stressful on his heart now.
This October, he’ll visit Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld in Florida with his aunt, uncle and cousin. This summer, he doesn’t have many plans – just hanging out with friends, who mean a lot to him.
“I can be a good friend,” he said. “A lot of my friends trust in me.”