PO Box 1214, Pearland, TX 77588 832-574-2626



“Zak was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at the age of 4, and we were told that he wouldn’t make it to his teen years. In fact, the doctor said, “Don’t blame yourself, you have done everything that you can.” The disease was handed down by his father, and while we knew he had the same disease, we weren’t aware of the seriousness of it until that very moment. In fact, being young and naive, the family always told us that “the females were more heavily affected” because Clarence was doing so well. We had no idea – we were shocked. At the same time, Clarence was finding out that his own disease progression was much further along and our oldest, Quest, also had the disease, though not quite as severe. So, we took Zak and Quest (and our youngest at the time, Sutton) and moved out to Houston to become patients of Texas Children’s Heart Team. It was absolutely, hands down, the best move we’ve ever made. When Zak was 8, he was outfitted with an ICD which later proved to be invaluable as it appropriately shocked him four months after implant. It was while we were in the hospital recovering from the shock when we were given the green light to be listed for transplant. All the evaluations and discussions had come down to that particular moment – we knew it was going to happen, but it was still a sobering moment. Zak did well during our wait, though HCM is sneaky and malicious and took away his ability to walk for long distances at a time or eat normal portions of food. He wound up in a wheelchair about five months before transplant, and it was at this time he was bumped to a higher status – we just needed to get him better. 519 days after we were listed, on a Friday evening, we were called – they had found a perfect heart for my son. Zak was transplanted and given a second chance at life on August 31, 2014. He was 10 years old. During one of the many echoes he endured after transplant, the technician asked us if we had heard about Hunt with Heart. We had, seeing as we had spent so much time at the hospital, and very much wanted to be part of such a wonderful organization. The technician told Zak that she would mention his name to Dr. Dreyer, and when he turned 11, he would be eligible to participate in one of the camps that took place in either the spring or fall. Zak was SO EXCITED! He spent years wanting to be ‘normal’ and wanting to participate in activities that required so much more energy than he had – the opportunity to learn and be part of something just absolutely made his recovery that much easier. Zak went on to participate in the fall camp of 2015, and I can say, without a doubt, that Hunt with Heart is part of our family. Our family suffered a tremendous loss last year, on April 20, 2018, when Zak’s father, Clarence Mortensen, passed away suddenly from cardiac arrest. Hunt with Heart reached out to us and we are forever grateful for all the kind words and comfort they provided during this period. Zak is doing so very well – in fact, today is his birthday (2/12) and he is now 15 years old! FIFTEEN! This is someone who was not supposed to make it to their teens… and now, at 15, he’s wanting to learn how to drive, get a job and give back – the same way Hunt with Heart has given to us. Thank you so much for everything!” -Zak’s Mom