SCHUYLER FALLS - On the surface, Evan Ormsby looks like any other 19-year-old. However, within him, he wages a constant battle with a rare heart condition.
Evan suffers from Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition which affects approximately 3 percent of the general population. According to the American Heart Association, in a normal heart, electrical signals utilize only one path moving through the heart, known as the atrio-ventricular, or A-V node. As the signals move from the heart's upper to lower chambers, they causes the heart to beat. The timing of the electrical signals is important for the heart to beat properly.
In the heart of someone with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, there is an extra conduction pathway that can allow the electrical signals to arrive at the ventricles too soon. The result can be episodes of rapid heart rhythm known as tachycardia, as well as dizziness, chest palpitations, fainting and, in some cases, cardiac arrest.
Annette and Craig Ormsby, Evan's parents, have helped their son through his condition since he was first diagnosed after suffering a heart attack at 9 years old. Since then, Evan has had several heart attacks as doctors have attempted to treat and correct his condition.
His condition worsened as he entered high school and left him constantly feeling down, said Annette. However, through the encouragement of Lisa Crane, a support manager at Peru High School, Annette said Evan pressed on to graduate last year.
"If it wasn't for her, I think he would have given up a lot of times," said Annette. "She pushed him and got him to graduate and with good grades."
However, after high school, things took a turn for the worse. Evan was scheduled to undergo surgery to correct his heart condition, which was expected to result in him being incapacitated at least three to four months. Evan had planned to attend Clinton Community College, but he and his family ultimately decided it would be best to postpone school as his recovery would have likely interfered with his getting a good start on his college education.