5-year-old born with half a heart, lung defect gets help from fundraiser

5-year-old J.T. Swartzel has been through a lot in such a short time. Fortunately, he has a lot of support from his community.


J.T. Swartzel, 5, has been through a lot in such a short time. He was born with half a heart and only 15 percent function in his left lung.

"We have had multiple episodes where he's been coughing up blood," J.T.'s mother, Jamie, said. "So we are now listed for a heart and lung transplant."

J.T.'s first surgery came when he was just 4 days old. Now, he's preparing for a heart and lung transplant. Thankfully, J.T. is getting plenty of support from everyone in his community.

When Karen Hartwig, manager of restaurant Jim & Jack's On The River, heard about J.T.'s condition, she decided the Swartzels would the perfect recipients for their Gloria Jim Memorial fundraiser.

The fundraiser honors Hartwig's mother, who died of pancreatic cancer.

"I said, 'Absolutely we can nominate J.T.,'" Hartwig said. "Because my mom, more than anything, the kids pulled at her heartstrings."

All the money raised will go to the Swartzel family to help cover J.T.'s care.