Heart disease is the number one cause of death, around the world and, with not a single sign of heart disease one Spokane man almost became a part of that statistic at just 31 years old.
Jeremy White had seen and done more things than people twice his age but last summer, with no warning, he was being told by doctors, he had just days to live.
“I just really like enjoying a full life and that's what I've tried to do my whole life, things like running with the bulls in Spain to Machu Pichu in Peru,” White said. “After returning from a trip to the Middle East, I was in the hospital for heart failure.”
In a week's time White went from racing camels in Egypt to fighting for his life in a Spokane hospital bed.
“I've been very healthy my whole life, and then all of a sudden out of nowhere I thought I was going to die, which is a weird feeling. Just to feel yourself get to that point where I'm actually dying,” he said.
He was given an eight-percent chance of survival until doctors removed his heart and replaced it with a mechanical one. A year later and doctors still don't know what caused his heart to fail.
“It's been quite an adjustment, getting back to life now and trying to live a somewhat normal life,” White said.
A somewhat normal life, still means giving up a lot of the things he loves, trading in long backbacking hikes for trips to the gym.
“I do try and work out as best I can, trying to get in the best shape I can for a heart transplant,” he said.
White carries a small bag around his shoulder at all times filled with batteries and a monitor that's connected by tube to his mechanical heart. doesn't focus on the can't; instead he's found new ways to keep himself busy, through his contracting company, teaching a survival class to kids, and even the occasional hike, just much shorter distances than he's used to.
“I've climbed a lot of mountains in my day but this is the hardest mountain I've ever had to climb,” he said.
But he knows that like so many of his other great adventures this is only temporary.
“I was told when I got on the transplant list, three months to three years,” he said. “I thank God that he allowed me to keep living because I wasn't done living, I wanted to do some more things here on Earth,” White said.
White has been chosen as the chairperson for the Spokane Heart Walk on September 10 at Riverfront Park.