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HEADLINE: Students show true friendship


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Tim Stewart Find out more about Tim Stewart
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  • HEADLINE: Students show true friendship

    Copyright 2003 The Deseret News Publishing Co.
    Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah)

    June 11, 2003, Wednesday


    LENGTH: 617 words

    HEADLINE: Students show true friendship

    BYLINE: By Lee Benson Deseret Morning News

    At East High School's graduation ceremonies tonight, it's a safe bet that the
    most enthusiastic parents in the audience will be Jeff and Stephanie Hunt.

    On the surface, that might seem like an odd prediction, since a year ago the
    Hunts' son, Adam, collapsed during a P.E. class with an undiagnosed heart
    condition and after a five-week hospital battle died.

    Adam was at the end of his junior year at the time, heading into his final
    year of high school with a full head of steam. He was a two-way starter on the
    football team, he drove a cool old truck, he looked out for the disadvantaged,
    he was popular with the girls -- your basic big-man-on-campus.

    At 5-foot-11 and 154 pounds there wasn't an ounce of fat on him; he may have
    been the fittest kid in the school. Then, out of the blue, he fell down while he
    was running during a gym class workout and couldn't get back up. The official
    name of what he had was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Translated into human
    terms, Adam's heart was way too big for his body.

    Last May 15, the day he was rushed to the hospital, gave the Hunts their
    first clue that their son was not lacking in the friendship-and-admiration
    department. Close to a hundred East High classmates showed up at University
    Hospital to check on his progress -- about five minutes after he was admitted.
    Doctors and nurses had to maneuver around them like Manhattan traffic. And the
    kids didn't leave. Dozens of them stayed all night. When it was time for family
    prayer, Jeff and Steph suddenly had 50 new members of the family.

    Throughout Adam's five-week stay, the students kept a bedside vigil. At least
    30 a night showed up, homework or no homework. When the Sadie Hawkins Dance came
    along, about 50 couples left the high school gym early and spent the rest of the
    evening with their buddy Adam.

    The support and caring for Adam and his family was omnipresent. When Jeff and
    Stephanie came home from the hospital, they found East High kids in their yard
    planting flowers. At the school, a bucket was passed around for spare change to
    pay Adam's truck payments. A week later they paid off the truck: $1,600 in
    quarters, dimes, nickels and a few crumpled ones.

    "It was unbelievable what these kids did," says Jeff -- and it didn't stop
    the day five weeks later when Adam's big heart took his life.

    "If anything, they came around more," says Stephanie.

    Adam's football teammates, along with his coaches, dug up endzone turf at the
    East High field from the exact spot where Adam scored a winning touchdown
    against Highland and transplanted it at his plot at the Salt Lake Cemetery --
    all of this at 2 in the morning. They painted Adam's old truck red and put his
    football number, 26, on the side. During one game this past season, they brought
    Adam's little brother, 8-year-old Spencer, down to the field and made him team
    captain. It was the only game the team won all year.

    When Adam's sister Emily turned 13, a good-sized portion of East's senior
    class picked her up at her house and took her out to celebrate. Last Christmas,
    East High seniors donated an "Adam" tree to the Festival of Trees. On Mother's
    Day, Stephanie got roses.

    "We have seen a side of love, compassion and caring from these teenagers that
    we will never forget," says Stephanie. "They have cried with us, laughed with us
    and let us be a part of their lives. On graduation tonight, while parents are
    saying goodbye and congratulations to their kids, we will be saying goodbye and
    congratulations to the seniors we will never forget. We believe they are angels.

    Lee Benson's column runs Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please send
    e-mail to [email protected] and faxes to 801-237-2527.

    LOAD-DATE: June 11, 2003
    Thanks, Tim
    Forum Administrator

  • #2
    Re: HEADLINE: Students show true friendship

    What great kids they are! I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes reading this.

    Husband has HCM.
    3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.


    • #3
      Re: HEADLINE: Students show true friendship

      Whoever said our future is not certain with kids like these.
      Great story.
      Every great thing that has ever happened since the beginning of time has started as a single thought in someones mind.
      So if you are capable of thought then you are capable of great things
      Good luck and stay well.