Storm Kelley: A Heart of Gold

By Kendall Seigworth

Storm Kelley is one of those guys in the hallways laughing and carrying on with his friends.  Many who stop to meet him say he’s a pretty nice and down-to-earth guy. He’s slender, but typically towers over many that walk by him at six foot three inches.

Believe it or not, there is a medical reason for this.

Kelley has Marfan’s Syndrome. According to the National Marfan Foundation, this problem often shows itself physically with extreme flexibility, flat feet, long arms and legs and a long, slender body type. All of these are characteristics that Kelley displays. The cause of this is a lack of protein in his body called fibrillin- 1, which is important in creating connective tissue in the body.

Marfan’s syndrome has taken its effect on Kelley’s heart. During December of 2010, he had to undergo open-heart surgery which has taken a toll on him.

“The doctors cut my rib cage open and fixed my sternum, replaced my aortic root with a Dacron graph and fixed my mitral valve. I’m on a bunch of medication,” said Kelley.

Kelley tries to find the brightness lying ahead of him after open-heart surgery. Photo by Kendall Seigworth

His problem has affected him somewhat throughout life but he is still optimistic about his condition and recovery.

“I have a lot of pain, but I’m healing pretty fast.”

It could be said that growing up with this condition wouldn’t be easy.

“I’ve had many doctors appointments and have had to take daily medication. I’ve been restrained from activities such as physical sports. I’ve had problems with irregular heart beats and knew I would have to get surgery ever since I was seven years old, I just didn’t know when it would be,” explained Kelley.

“For the first few years after this surgery I’ll be monitored closely. As long as I adhere to my medicine schedule and act carefully with physical activities, I’ll have a prolonged normal life. As normal as it gets,” he said.

During the surgeries, Kelley did not feel alone and was not too stressed about keeping up with his school work.

“My friends have all been really supportive and Mr. Erisman has devoted a lot of time and concern into my academic success as I recover,” said Kelley.

“It’s hard for me to talk about everything Storm is going through, he’s like a brother,” said Eric Byers a friend and classmate.

“Storm is a really chill, smart kid,” said Cassie Wilkinson.

“I’ve known Storm since the fourth grade, he has always been a good friend,” said Kyle Angelo.

With all of the advancements in medical science, Kelley is confident that after some major treatment he should be able to live a long, healthy life.

“I’m looking forward to seeing my friends at school. I’m also looking forward to being able to drive and swim again. I want to go to college, become a car engineer and travel around the world with a special someone,” said Kelley of his hopes for the future.