MIAMI, Okla. (KFOR) – “I like to play with puppies,” Lake Sturges said. “I like to clean, a lot. I like to do art.”
Nine-year-old Lake also likes to ride his bike and flip around on his trampoline.
“Lake came home to us from Haiti when he was four years old, and when we saw our nurse practitioner for his first visit, she noted that he had a heart murmur,” his mother, Windie Sturges said.
And eventually a diagnosis.
“Anomalous origin of the right coronary artery, which is a congenital defect,” Windie said. “The way that his coronary artery runs causes what we often find as the sudden death of young athletes on the field, because where that artery runs in, when there is a lot of pressure, it will kink off that artery.”
Lake and Windie soon found themselves at the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.
“With that diagnosis there is one place in Oklahoma to go,” she said. “The first time I went to OU, I started to get a little nervous until we went there more often, and then I was like, ‘I’m kind of getting used to it now.'”
Lake’s heart was sustaining damage doing everyday kid activities. He was diagnosed just before his ninth birthday, and in July of this year, underwent his first heart surgery. Lake was surrounded by service dogs during his stay.
“He’s a tiny superhero,” his mother said.
Two weeks ago, doctors lifted all restrictions, and, now, Lake is free to do whatever his little heart desires
“Last year, I got a big eight pointer. That was my second deer,” Lake said.
A tale that soon turned into one of victories and lessons spanning farther than any global boundary or medical diagnosis.
“We were in this tree stand. I got really cold and so I stood up,” he said. “I look over to my side and saw this big buck. I told dad, and he told me to sit down and got his phone out to video.”
That video has now been viewed more than one million times.
“It was during a time that our nation seemed to be pushing a lot of division, and so we had never even thought a thing about being an intercultural, interracial family. It’s just our life. Nobody knew we were an interracial family until my husband did a fist pump, and the fist pump came in, and that brought in so many people to be friends with us that we have never before known,” Windie said. “It was really a time when everyone was talking divide that we found that there is such a unity in our nation.”
To make a donation to help children like Lake or for more information, visit CHFKids.com.