Shadd Revalee and his dog Yoder in the front porch swing at home in Harmony.
By IVY HERRON
Vic and Karen Altemiller's son, Shadd Revalee would love to challenge you to a one-on-one game of basketball, knock your fastball into the outfield or block your attempts to tackle him in a rousing game of football; but he can't.
"Is skateboarding a sport? If it is, I like it," Shadd said when asked about his favorite sport. "I'd love to play football -- not touch football -- real football, but I can't."
While he dreams of one day doing these activities, Shadd's heart won't ever let him live that dream.
Shadd suffers from a condition called Truncus Arteriosus -- a congenital defect due to abnormal development of the fetal heart during the first eight weeks of pregnancy.
On Oct. 10, he will have a third open heart surgery to repair the valves of his heart so blood circulation and oxygen levels will return to normal.
"Shadd didn't realize what was happening the other two times, he was only 3 weeks old the first time and 5-years old the second time. This time he's older, he's in school, he's in the band at school and has lots of friends," Shadd's mother Karen Altemiller said.
The surgery will not fix Shadd's heart so that he can play football, but that is all right with him -- he says he will find new dreams to dream.
"All he's ever known is pain, but you couldn't ask for a better kid to go through all of this," Karen said. "Shadd is very positive about everything and doesn't complain a bit -- except for not being able to play contact sports like basketball, baseball, football."
It's hard to slow the active 12-year-old down at times, according to his family. Shadd plays the drums in the North Clay Middle School band, enjoys golf, rides a skateboard and a dirt bike.
"Wearing two chest guards, a helmet, knee pads, gloves -- basically 'the whole nine yards' -- for his safety," said Karen. "He can't take a hard hit to his chest area (without protection)."
Shadd also enjoys spending time with his family, friends and his dog Yoder.
"I tried to figure out how to get him into the hospital, but couldn't," Shadd said with a wide smile when asked what he was taking to the hospital. "So I'm taking my glow-in-the-dark blanket instead."
Shadd talks about the surgery with ease, but his mother knows it weighs heavy on her son.
"I can tell he is very nervous about the upcoming surgery. We are trying to keep him extremely busy this weekend to keep his mind off things," Karen said. "That's why we planned the party at Harmony Park on Sunday. We wanted him to go to Riley Hospital knowing how much he's loved. I have so much faith in the doctors at Riley, after all, they have given me my baby for 12 years now and 30 years ago he would have died."
Shadd's parents and his sister Taylor Revalee invite all friends and family to come share Sunday afternoon with Shadd at Harmony park from 12 noon - 4 p.m.
Although one family member will not be there physically, Karen says she knows her mother who recently passed away is with the family.
"We were very close and my children were very close to her also," Karen said. "She wouldn't want her death to be a factor in Shadd's time of need. Even though she won't be there physically, I know she will be there."