It was and still is every parent’s nightmare. The call you fear from the police notifying you that your child is in very serious condition and is being worked on by paramedics. Rushing to the scene trying to determine what has happened to your child who was with you just 60 minutes earlier. After one hour of agony, the EMTs walking over to us, putting down their emergency kits to tell us they did all they could but could not save him.
Logan Skylar Whatcott, age 16, passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly on July 28, 2018, in Post Falls. He had just gone out with some friends and was only away from the house less than an hour when he started to feel ill and fell to the ground. One of his very close childhood friends was with him and called 911 while beginning CPR. The family was called on scene and we all waited from afar as the paramedics and fire department worked on him for much longer than normal. He could not be saved. It is a devastating moment that we all relive daily.
We did not know why or how Logan died. We knew that he did not do drugs and was in fact quite against them. We knew that he would not ever do anything to harm himself. Even as rough as teenager years can be, he had great support from his family and friends and would talk through those tough times.
We knew it was highly likely that Logan had a medical condition. Logan was often sick and he went to the doctors a lot. He would feel nauseous, dizzy and was really tired. The pediatrician continually passed these things off as diet (not eating enough or skipping breakfast), staying up too late and not getting enough sleep, etc. We continued to press on the pediatrician’s office, and they referred him to a gastroenterologist physician, who proceeded to do an endoscopy scope under sedation but without any answers to Logan’s symptoms. As we continued to seek resolution for Logan and take him to the doctor/labs, we were not able to ever determine the cause until it was too late.
Months after Logan passed, we did not have information or a determination on how Logan died as the autopsy and lab work take quite a bit of time, some labs being mailed across the U.S. It was not until the beginning of October that we were presented with the final details that Logan had a genetic heart condition called Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC). ARVC is a rare form of cardiomyopathy in which the heart muscle of the right ventricle thins and is replaced by fat and/or fibrous tissue. The right ventricle is dilated and contracts poorly. As a result, the ability of the heart to pump blood is usually weakened, which can increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest or death. At the young age of 16, Logan’s heart was enlarged and the symptoms we had been trying to identify were that of heart failure.
Some call it the “Rookie Year.” For our family and friends, I am not sure that would be how we reference the last year but agree that it has been a very tough year. Experiencing such significant loss daily, especially for Logan’s grandparents (Dave and Bobbi Whatcott) who raised him his whole life has been devastating.
The first day of what would have been his junior year, the first holidays without him, his 17th birthday that he did not get to see, his driver’s license permit that was never to be turned to a license. Now, we turn into July with a gut-wrenching pain in realizing that this month will mark a full year without him. How has it been one year? It still feels like yesterday that we were laughing with him, he was riding his four-wheeler down the street with joy, playing Nerf guns with his cousins. How has it been one year … or how has it even happened? These things happen to other people, not your own family.
Logan was an amazing kid. He loved his family and friends and had such a big and caring heart, often sought out as a friendly counselor. He loved playing his guitar, riding his long board across town, hanging out with friends, riding his four-wheeler and playing video games.
As we think about how we move past this one year and into the next year, we wanted to share Logan’s story. We wanted to be sure that all of his friends knew how he died and also to bring some community awareness to the fact that there are many different heart conditions that affect young kids. There are also many preventive steps that can be taken, and it starts with early screening and public awareness that children’s hearts can have defects that were not detected or visible at birth.
We want to encourage all of Logan’s family and friends to live for him. While his life was cut short and he watches us from the heavens, we encourage everyone to live for him and remember him. Enjoy the life that you are still given on this earth and make it the best that you can. Make new memories, enjoy the old memories and keep Logan’s fun spirit, witty sense of humor, impressive vocabulary, and amazing and caring heart with you.
Valerie Wilson is Logan Whatcott’s aunt.