How This Scout’s Heart-transplant Experience Inspired His Eagle Scout Project

Eagle Scout Jarod D., receiving Scouting’s highest rank before friends and family during his Eagle Scout Court of Honor at Bethel Presbyterian Church (Photo credit: Laura Peters/The News Leader)

Before Eagle Scout Jarod D. was even born, he was diagnosed with a heart defect that left the family with a difficult decision to make at his birth. Would Jarod have multiple heart surgeries, a transplant or go home to live out his limited life?

Jarod’s mother, Stephanie, said the transplant was the last option they wanted to consider for a newborn, so they chose the surgeries.

For years, Jarod underwent several procedures and handled them well. Yet at age 13, his heart started to fail and was placed on a heart transplant list in 2014.

The Scout received a new heart in January 2015 and his mom says his life has since been completely transformed.

“He’s thrived,” Stephanie shared with News Leader. “He’s gone to prom, he’s gone to concerts … ”

Prior to receiving his new heart, Jarod was very limited in what he could do and also suffered from cerebral palsy since birth. Yet despite his health challenges, the teen always strived to remain active in Scouting.

Aspiring to Reach Scouting’s Highest Rank

Jarod always dreamed of becoming an Eagle Scout like his brother, J.W., so he made it his mission to ascend to Scouting’s highest rank. To do that, the Scout needed to lead an Eagle Scout service project so he brainstormed with his mom and doctors to come up with the perfect idea.

Through his personal experiences in the cardiovascular department at the University of Virginia Medical Center, the Scout was inspired to design a project that would be meaningful to him and lift the spirits of children who have heart problems.

The teen constructed three bravery chests to be placed in each echocardiography room at the hospital as a part of Mended Little Hearts, support group for children, patients and families affected by congenital heart disease. He filled the chests with toys, games and activities, encouraging kids to take them home or play with while at the hospital.

Jarod’s dad, John, says he’s thrilled his son not only received a new heart, but he’s also proud that Jarod is now among a rare group of men who earned the Eagle Scout rank. Stephanie shares her husbands elation and says her son’s positive attitude always brightened up a room, even through tough medical setbacks. Jarod’s Scoutmaster agrees.

“Scouting has been a big thing in his life,” explained Scoutmaster Wayne Swisher. “He was always active. He always had a smile on his face and when you were down, you just look at him.”

A Scout is Cheerful, after all and Jarod is a shining example of what it looks like to live out the Scout Law and Scout Motto.

For the full story about this inspirational Eagle Scout, head to News Leader.



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Hayley Cordaro is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She loves sharing inspiring success stories and uncovering new ways volunteers and employees can make the most of their Scouting experience. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at