Young athlete who received a new heart for Christmas years ago encourages others to donate


When he was 7, Luke Ball spent Christmas in the hospital hoping for a new heart.

Now 13, Luke plays three sports and recently volunteered to tell his story as part of the “The Human Side of Donation Campaign,” through Donate Life PA. The idea is to put names, places and stories — like that of the Ball family of Cranberry — to organ donation.

Right now, there are nearly 8,000 people in Pennsylvania on a waiting list to receive a life-saving transplant, said Colleen Sullivan, the Center for Organ Recovery and Education director of communications.

Luke, joined by his parents, youngest brother and Ms. Sullivan, told his story for media following a soccer camp Friday at the McKinney Soccer Complex North Park in Pine.

In November of 2010, Luke’s name was added to that list after years of heart complications that started before he was born.

At the 20-week ultrasound for her third child, Stacie Ball found out that her son was missing one of his four heart chambers.

Luke had his first heart surgery four weeks after he was born, and two more before his second birthday. Continue reading

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