Old Mill High and Capitals team up to help 16-year-old get new heart Boy has been waiting 3 months for transplant

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Old Mill Senior High School and the Washington Capitals have joined forces to raise money for a former Old Mill student who needs a new heart.

Lacy Chenoweth, 16, has been suffering from heart problems since birth.

Lacy, who would have ended his first semester as a sophomore at Old Mill this month, has been waiting for a heart transplant since September.

"It's a pretty sad story," said Kevin Randolph, a counselor at Old Mill. "It didn't take a whole lot of prompting on our part."

The school is trying to sell 100 Washington Capitals tickets for a Jan. 26 game against the Buffalo Sabres, said Mr. Randolph.

The tickets usually are sold for $38 each, but will be available for $12. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Chenoweth family, he said.

"I think it's great," Lacy said yesterday from his Crownsville home, minutes before heading to Baltimore for a Baltimore Bandits game. "It's two things I like. It's school and hockey."

Mr. Randolph said the Capitals organization approached the school this month about raising money to help Lacy and offered tickets to other games if demand is high for the Jan. 26 contest.

"The opportunity was there," Mr. Randolph said of the school's decision to get involved.

Bobbi Remines, a math teacher at Old Mill, and Jill Grupski, the school nurse, also helped with the project.

"People at this school are concerned about Lacy," said Mr. Randolph.

Lacy fondly remembers his old high school and classmates.

"I miss them all," he said. "They know my spirit's still in school."

The young man suffers from Fallot's tetralogy, a birth deformity of the heart that afflicts one of every 1 million people. It is characterized by a hole between the pumping chambers of the heart. The hole diminishes the flow of blood to the lungs.

Six open-heart operations have temporarily fixed the problem.

Gabrielle Harlow, Lacy's father's fiancee, said a Nov. 15 catheterization to increase blood flow was only 25 percent successful.

An operation to replace two leaky valves with metal valves is set for Jan. 16.

Ms. Harlow said the operation would cost about $60,000.

Despite several operations, Lacy remains optimistic.

His determination has won over many students and teachers at Old Mill, said Mr. Randolph.

"He's such a courageous person," Mr. Randolph said. "He doesn't complain. He's never pining and feeling sorry for himself."

Ms. Harlow said she believes Lacy will be energized by the aid effort coordinated by Old Mill and the Washington Capitals.

"I think he'll be excited," Ms. Harlow said. "There are a lot of selfish people in this world. I'll be really happy if this comes through."

And Lacy said the Capitals' effort has only increased his love for the organization.

"They always were my favorite team," Lacy said. "They're the best."

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