MERRILLVILLE | Logan Castleton, 8, of Valparaiso, has a Heart of Gold according to the American Heart Association Midwest Affiliate Northwest Indiana Chapter.
The son of Rich and Jen Castleton, Logan has battled a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome since his birth, undergoing his first cardiac surgery at just 10 days old. During his short lifetime, this vivacious and active little boy has had three open heart surgeries, several heart catheterizations and multiple pacemakers.
But nothing has stopped him from living life to the fullest and helping others, said Diane Kemp, executive director of the American Heart Association Midwest Affiliate Northwest Indiana Chapter.
Logan received the American Heart Association’s 2013 Heart of Gold Award at the Reviving Old Hollywood, Heart of Gold Gala, Saturday at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza.
Kemp said that although Logan will eventually need a heart transplant, he has persevered and help spread awareness about heart-related issues by participating in the annual American Heart Association Heart Walk since he was little.
“He went to his first walk in Chesterton being pulled in a red wagon by his parents,” Kemp said. “He has raised $18,000 for the Heart Walk.”
As a surprise for gala guests, Logan played "Stop in the Name of Love," "Young at Heart," "Heart and Soul" and "Heartbreak" on the piano. As an encore, he made the piano swing with "Boogie Woogie Rock." Music and the piano hold a special place in his heart, Logan said.
In fact, the Castletons discovered that Logan’s piano teacher is also a heart transplant survivor.
“I’ve been taking lesson for two years,” he said. “It’s pretty fine eating at a fancy dinner when all the other kids are asleep.”
Jen Castleton said she and Rich are grateful for the research and medical progress that the American Heart Association has made possible.
“Some of the treatments like the pacemakers, the stent and the medicine he took as a baby are part of daily life,” she said. “We are always indebted to the American Heart Association and support their efforts.”
Carl and Carly Erickson, of Valparaiso, attended the gala to support the American Heart Association in memory of their daughter, Kendall, who was born with a heart defect and underwent surgeries, but passed away at 10 weeks of age.
“We do this because we don’t want other families to go through this,” Carl Erickson said.
Dave Wilkinson, president of Strack & VanTil, and Dave Harvey, owner of Harvey Consulting in Crown Point, served as chairs of the executive team for the Heart of Gold Gala.
“This is a community coming together to fight back against heart disease and stroke,” Harvey said. “It’s the number one cause of disability in our country. It’s great to see the community rally around the cause.”
The Dean & Barbara White Family Foundation Inc. was the major sponsor for the Heart of Gold Gala. Other major sponsors included Strack & VanTil, Centier Bank, Methodist Hospitals and ArcelorMittal. The Times Media Co. was an additional event sponsor.