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Friday, June 17, 2016

Ponte Vedra teen receives a new heart

Dr. Mark Bleiweis poses with one of the "Heart for Hunter" cutouts that came to symbolize Ponte Vedra teen Hunter Crain's wait for a heart transplant. Last week, Bleiweis performed the life-saving operation on Hunter.

Ponte Vedra residents may already be familiar with Hunter Crain, the local teen whose battle with an underdeveloped left ventricle launched the “Heart for Hunter” campaign to help him receive a life-saving organ transplant.

Last week, the call the Crain family had been waiting for finally came. On June 7 at 5:35 a.m., the family received news that a heart was available. After receiving the call, Hunter, 19, and his mother Nancy rushed to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville for the surgery, which was conducted by Dr. Mark Bleiweis, MD, director and surgeon of the UF Health Congenital Heart Center.

Less than 24 hours later, Hunter was able to sit upright and offer a “thumbs up” to his family.

“We are just so excited and happy for him that this time has come,” Nancy Crain said. “There’s still a ways to go, but we’re so thankful.” Continue reading
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