York County high school celebrates ‘heart week’ after staff revive freshman in cardiac arrest

YORK CO., Va. - Grafton High School is holding a "heart week" all this week, but the cause is much bigger than Valentine's Day and awareness.

The week is in honor of freshman student, Andrew Stonier, who recently received a new heart.

On November 28, 2016, Andrew had a heart attack inside a classroom.

He had a cough that day, but otherwise felt OK.

His physical education teacher, Amy Hunter, ironically, was teaching CPR as a part of his health class.

She realized he was in cardiac arrest, and immediately started CPR.

"All the stars that could've aligned, aligned the right way that day," says Hunter. "I remember I kept saying to him come on Andrew, come on Andrew. I just knew I wasn't going to let him die, I was going to do everything I could."

She called in for assistance and the School Resource Officer, Master Deputy Jeffrey Charville, ran into the classroom with an AED.

"It's one of those things where the training takes over," he says.

Andrew was taken to the hospital and eventually transferred to CHKD where he underwent surgery to repair a heart valve, but he again went into cardiac arrest.

He was transferred to the University of Virginia Pediatric Cardiac Care unit in Charlottesville. On December 24th, Andrew received a new heart. As a result of his condition, he had to have one leg amputated below the knee.

Andrew's mom tells News 3 that he was born with a bicuspid aortic valve with a stenosis of the valve. Doctors diagnosed the aortic valve as thick and hardened, which caused the heart to become enlarged.

They hope to have Andrew transfer to inpatient rehabilitation next week.

"Andrew is progressing very well. He is continuing to work hard in therapy, speech, and school," she said to News 3 in a written message. "My family and I cannot express how proud we are to be a part of such a caring community."

There are events all throughout the week to help fund raise for Andrew's family, including $2 Zumba tickets for a big Zumba event on Friday.

Students made a YouTube commercial to get the word out about the event.

"We had all of this fun but at the end of the day it's all about him," says Elizabeth Owens, a senior.

Today, the school is handing out "candygrams."

Tomorrow, the art club will sell bracelets for $2, students will sign a card and banner for Andrew's family, and Plaza Azteca will donate part of their sales to the family for any customer that says they are with Grafton High School.

On Thursday, students can donate $2 to wear a hat, and on Friday, teachers can donate $2 to wear jeans.

The school also set up a GoFundMe account.

"It’s really just a heart-healthy promotion for him," says Matthew Grant, a senior. "We really just want to support him here at Grafton."