After heart transplant, loss of best friend, Jackson Heights senior finds courage to run

Local News

HOLTON, Kan. (KSNT) – Jackson Heights high school senior Alex Edwards knows about heartbreak, both literally and figuratively; when he was a sophomore, he lost his best friend to a fatal car accident and underwent a heart transplant in the span of just a few months.

KSNT News first told you about Edwards back in April 2019, when he had just received a new heart to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

His school built him a robot, similar to one you may have seen on the hit sitcom Big Bang Theory, that allowed him to physically be present at school, from him.

At roughly the same time, Edward’s classmates started a campaign known as Safe 75. The campaign started after multiple students passed away in car wrecks near the school.

Jackson Heights is located off Highway 75, a two-lane highway with no barrier in between the two directions of traffic. The students so passionate about this that they even asked Gov. Laura Kelly to make the road safer.

Shortly before his surgery, Edward’s best friend, Garrett Klahr, was one of the students that died in a car crash leaving school.

Since his diagnosis, Edwards had never had the strength to play a sport, while Klahr was involved in many of them. But his new heart gave him a shot at cross country.

“It’s not just running, it’s a lot harder than that,” Edwards said.

But it wasn’t just harder because of the stamina needed to run or the work his heart had to exert to keep him on his feet. Klahr had talked Edwards into trying out cross country. Now he finally had the strength to run, even if it was going to be without his best friend.

“He loved cross country and track, and that kind of inspired Alex to come out,” said Jackson Heights cross country coach Brad Alley.

Edward’s is running with someone else’s heart for a soul that’s no longer with him. But he knows that his best friend is with him, every step of the race.

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December 31 2021 11:59 pm